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England"s medieval lords were mainly vegetarian and only occasionally gorged on meat at "massive barbecues," archeologists say

England's pre-Viking elite were "flexitarians" who only consumed huge feasts of meat on special occasions, according to isotopic skeleton analysis. Illustration from 19th century of a Medieval banquet in a castle.Getty Images It's long been assumed that England's Medieval rulers ate copious amounts of meat. The scientific analysis of thousands of skeletons shows the diets of the pre-Viking rulers were  "flexitarian." Feasts of mutton and beef were reserved for special occasions, the studies say. The long-held assumption about Medieval rulers has been that they ate copious amounts of meat, but new research shows that England's pre-Viking social elite more likely had a "flexitarian" diet.According to a pair of papers in the Anglo-Saxon England journal, the food consumed by early Medieval England's high society was largely cereal and vegetable-based.Feasts of mutton and beef, a team of bioarcheologists have concluded, were reserved for special occasions.Royals and nobles occasionally gorged on meat at "massive barbecues" hosted by free peasants and farmers, according to the Cambridge University research. At the 300-person feasts, the studies say individual guests were sometimes offered up to 2.2 pounds of meat and 4,000 calories worth of food.But meat-heavy celebratory meals were not the norm, the academic papers say.Medieval rulers' diets were low in animal protein, according to the isotopic analysis of 2,023 people buried in England from the fifth to the 11th centuries.The isotopic analysis involves archeologists collecting information on the chemical signatures of diets by examining bones and teeth.Sam Leggett at work in a laboratory.Tom Almeroth-Williams, University of Cambridge"I've found no evidence of people eating anything like this much animal protein on a regular basis," said Sam Leggett, who co-authored the studies in a press release. "If they were, we would find isotopic evidence of excess protein and signs of diseases like gout from the bones. But we're just not finding that."To the surprise of Leggett and co-author Tom Lambert, their research goes against the historical assumption that the social elite and the peasant class had substantially different diets.Leggett cross-referenced the isotopic findings with evidence for social status, noting the number of foreign grave goods, body position, and grave orientation. The evidence indicated no direct correlation between wealth or power, judged by burying practices, and higher animal protein consumption."The popular view has always been of a big social divide between the elites and the peasants," Lambert told The Sun. "But their diet was the same. It shows on normal days. They were mostly eating bread and vegetable stew. And, once in a while, they would come together for a nice spread or a barbecue. So [it was] an early form of flexitarianism."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 21st, 2022

Photos show what it"s like to shop at Aldi rival Lidl, from cluttered aisles to own-label products that look just like big brands

Lidl has around 11,500 stores worldwide. The store I visited was cluttered, with products in the wrong places and empty crates littering the aisles. Grace Dean/Insider Aldi rival Lidl sells own-label products that look just like big brands. Its stores focus on promotions and discounts, with items ranging from Dutch chocolates to leaf blowers. But the aisles were cluttered, products were in the wrong places, and it was hard to navigate. German discount grocery chain Lidl is rapidly expanding stateside. It opened its first US store in 2017 and reached the 100-store milestone three years later. Aldi, in comparison, has more than 2,100 stores in the US.A Lidl store in Poland.Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty ImagesSources: Lidl, Lidl, Insider, AldiGlobally, Lidl has more than 11,500 stores in around 30 countries. I visited a Lidl store in the UK, where the company has more than 800 locations. I'd shopped at Lidl occasionally, but had never been to this particular store in Limehouse, London, before.The exterior of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderSource: LidlThough the store wasn't huge, it had its own large parking lot.The parking lot of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderThe outside area of the store was dedicated to gardening products.The exterior of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderYou had to go through separate doors to get in and out that reminded me a bit of airport security ...The entrance of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/Insider... and once in, you had to pass through a turnstile, too. It's not often you encounter one of these in a grocery store, and I wasn't sure what the purpose of it was.The entrance of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace DeanThe first thing inside the entrance was a pile of instant barbecues next to bags of charcoal, a stack of shopping baskets, and a stray yellow cone that didn't seem to be protecting people from anything in particular.Products in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderThe rest of the store was equally chaotic. There was a pile of crates full of discounted fresh produce at the front designated at Lidl's "pick of the week," though some were empty and stacked at jaunty angles.Empty crates in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderThese included garlic, eggplant, and oranges, with differences of between 28% and 46%, though the eggplants were notably small.Products in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderRather than unpacking products in rows on its shelves, Lidl displays them in the crates and boxes they're delivered in.An aisle of products in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderBut this meant the store was littered with empty crates.Empty crates in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderIn some cases, these took over the aisles.Crates in the aisle of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderCages that staff used to stock shelves and remove empty packaging were littered around the store, too.Crates in the aisle of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderThis was the banana section. It was a mess. Some of the boxes were empty, and none seemed to contain the multi-packs of bananas advertised on the price tags.Banana display in a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderI can imagine it would be quite different to walk around the store with a shopping cart, buggy, or mobility aid.Crates in the aisle of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderSome of the aisles were neater, though.The snack aisle of a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderAnother thing that made it difficult to navigate the store was how Lidl dedicated random sections to promotions and discounted items, with slogans such as "when it's gone, it's gone."A promotional display in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderOne of these sections was a two-sided aisle covered in orange labels which included products such as beer, olive oil, hand cream, and car air freshener. It wasn't clear why these products were displayed here and whether they were discounted, approaching their use-by date, or simply being cleared to make room for new stock.A promotional display in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderThere was also a space dedicated to Dutch and Belgian items, too. There was a similar display of Dutch and Belgian products in the freezer section, including waffles, fish bites, and frikandellen.A promotional display of Dutch and Belgian items in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderYou could, for example, buy chocolate windmills. The products were all labeled with the brands "Dutch Style," "Belgian Style," or "Original Belgian Specialities."A promotional display of Dutch and Belgian items in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderIn this section, there was also a box filled with a very random assortment of items with 30%-off stickers.Discounted items in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderBut as well as the two-sided aisle, there were also piles of products at the end of some other aisles too, similarly touting orange "when it's gone, it's gone" labels.A promotional display in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderThere was a section dedicated to promotions and special offers, dubbed "the middle of Lidl." This space was home to a massive array of assorted and miscellaneous products ...The "middle of Lidl" aisle in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/Insider... from electronics, kitchenware, and grooming products ...The "middle of Lidl" aisle in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/Insider... to "Frozen" pyjamas ...The "middle of Lidl" aisle in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/Insider... and leaf blowers. The aisles were designated as either "Thursday" or "Sunday," which I presumed was when the stock was being replaced.The "middle of Lidl" aisle in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderElsewhere in the store, there were also two boxes full of assorted 99p cleaning items.A promotional display in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderWhile Lidl sells some big-name brands, it mainly sells own-label products. Just like at Aldi, some of its products appear to be based closely on popular brands, and in a lot of cases were displayed right next to them.Butter made by Danish brand Lurpak displayed next to Lidl own-label brand Danpak.Grace Dean/InsiderSome of Lidl's packaging was remarkably similar to that of the big-label products. The own-brand KitKat replica had the same color scheme, logo style, and layout as the original Nestlé product.KitKat chocolate biscuits made by Nestle displayed next to Lidl own-label brand Choc Attack.Grace Dean/InsiderSome of the Lidl-brand products didn't copy their competitors, though. I wouldn't have been able to guess that the pack of penne pasta on the right was Lidl own-brand – especially because it's labeled as "authentic Italian."Delverde pasta displayed next to Lidl own-label brand Baresa.Grace Dean/InsiderAs well as its basic own-brand products, Lidl sold some premium items with fancier packaging and higher price tags. These included pasta and granola under its "Deluxe" range, along with bars of chocolate under its "J D Gross" brand that cost around 50% more per 100 grams than its generic own-brand label.Lidl high-end and mid-label chocolate bars.Grace Dean/InsiderThe store had some organic produce, too.The organic section at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderLidl is well known in the UK for its bakery, which sells fresh bread, pastries, and cookies at bargain prices. A variety of loose bread rolls were available for less than £0.30 ($0.37), while cookies cost £0.39 ($0.48) and pizza slices cost £0.69 ($0.84).The bakery section at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderBut when I visited the store at around 4:15 p.m. on a Monday, many of the products had sold out.The bakery section at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderSupplies of some other products were low, too.The toilet paper aisle was nearly empty.Grace Dean/InsiderThe "meat-free" freezer section, meanwhile, was being used to display some products that definitely didn't belong there, like chicken ready meals. The price labels showed that these items hadn't just been dumped there by shoppers.There were meat products in the meat-free freezer sectionGrace Dean/InsiderThroughout the store, Lidl also highlighted how a lot of its meat and dairy produce was British with big patriotic displays across the store.Lidl highlighted the British origins of some of its products.Grace Dean/insiderThe store also had a huge outdoor sign facing the main road proclaiming it as "big on British," as well as union jacks dotted across some of its packaging.Lidl highlighted the British origins of some of its products.Grace Dean/InsiderAt the store in Limehouse, you could pay either with a cashier or at a self-service checkout. While self-service facilities have been multiplying dramatically at British supermarkets over the last decade, they're more of a recent phenomenon at Aldi and Lidl, both of which are known for their fast-scanning staff.The checkouts at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderLike at other stores, Lidl used the space behind the conveyor belt to plug last-minute items shoppers may have forgotten as well as snacks and treats. These included batteries, chewing gum, and small packs of peanuts. But the area had seemingly been used as a dumping ground for customers who'd changed their mind on which products they wanted ...The checkouts at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/Insider... as well as the checkout behind me, which was closed and was full of miscellaneous shopping and crates.The checkouts at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderUK supermarkets have to charge for carrier bags. As well as plastic bags, Lidl sells a variety of more durable shopping bags, which it usually stores under the conveyor belt – but the store I went to appeared to be clean out.The checkouts at a Lidl in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderLidl stores are designed to maximize efficiency. This includes bag packing. Rather than packing your bags at the checkouts like at other UK supermarkets, at Lidl shoppers simply put their scanned items back in their baskets to save on time. A table behind the checkouts gives customers space to then sort their purchases into bags.A table behind the checkouts gives customers space to sort their basket into bags.Grace Dean/InsiderHere's what I bought. It came to £26.55 (around $32.80). For me, the items from Lidl's pick-and-mix bakery probably stood out as the best deals, with the pain au chocolat costing just £0.49 (around $0.60).What I bought from Lidl.Grace Dean/InsiderThe prices of some of the other items, like four pints of milk for £1.25 ($1.55) and bananas for £0.78 ($0.96) per kilogram, were exactly the same as at leading UK grocery store chain Tesco.What I bought from Lidl.Grace Dean/InsiderThe Lidl store I visited was chaotic, and I didn't enjoy shopping there. The store was hard to navigate, the aisles were cluttered, some products were out of stock, and I couldn't find chickpeas anywhere.Products in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderAnd with so many signs touting discounts, it was hard to tell where the real bargains were. Many of the prices seemed comparable to other UK grocery stores. In the past, I've enjoyed shopping at Lidl because of the variety of the produce and the opportunity to buy lower-price versions of big-label brands, but this particular store left me with a sour taste.A promotional display in a Lidl store in Limehouse, London.Grace Dean/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMay 15th, 2022

I tried the new McDonald"s McPlant burger. It tastes like real meat, but it"s too expensive to buy again.

McDonald's doesn't need to change anything about its McPlant recipe, because as a meat-loving fast food eater, I loved it. The price is the problem. Stephanie Nieves McDonald's is responding to increased demand for meat substitutes with the McPlant, a Beyond Meat burger. The McPlant is only available in a few markets for now, and I tried one in Dallas. I loved the taste, and I didn't miss meat-based McDonald's items at all. The only thing I'd change is the price. McDonald's is responding to the increased demand of meat substitutes by launching another Beyond Meat burger, the McPlant.The McPlant packaging.Stephanie NievesThe McPlant is a plant-based patty topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, condiments, and cheese on a sesame-seed bun. I decided to try it out.McDonald's is testing the McPlant in the US.McDonald'sThe McPlant features many of the same ingredients as the PLT, which launched in September 2019 but was quietly removed from the menu in April 2020.The McDonald's PLT.McDonald'sBut according to recent reports, McDonald's restaurants in San Francisco and the Dallas-Fort Worth areas are only selling around 20 McPlant sandwiches per day — short of the company's goal, which is 40 to 60 sales per day.Stephanie NievesSource: BTIG via Market WatchCould the McPlant really be that bad? I would have to find out for myself.Stephanie NievesThe McPlant represents a massive opportunity for Beyond Meat, which announced a three-year partnership with the franchise in February.The Beyond Burger.Beyond MeatMcDonald's may also be able to benefit from this co-development, possibly drawing in new customers and reaching its sustainability goals.Stephanie NievesAccording to Beyond Meat, the original Beyond Burger generates roughly 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a quarter-pound beef patty and takes significantly less water, land, and energy to make.The Beyond Burger.Beyond MeatSource: Beyond MeatChains like Shake Shack, Carl's Jr., and White Castle also have their own variations of the veggie burger as well, offering plenty of options for plant-based foodies who need a quick bite.Carl's Jr.'s Beyond Famous StarCarl's Jr.Similar to the McPlant, the 'Shroom Burger at Shake Shack isn't vegan because it contains cheese, but meat lovers seem to love it just the same.Andrew LaSaneGiven that, I decided to stop by a nearby McDonald's and purchase a sandwich and a meal (just to see if the fries and drink add a little "something" to it).Stephanie NievesIn my area of Dallas, the sandwich costs $5.49 on its own, and it's $8.49 when you add medium fries and a drink.Stephanie NievesThat's pricier than: the Big Mac sandwich, which costs $4.69 (and $7.89 for the meal); the Quarter Pounder sandwich, which costs $4.89 (and $7.79 for the meal); and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich, which costs $3.99 (and $7.38 for the meal).McDonald's.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesMy first impression of the McPlant is that it tastes just like a Big Mac — seriously. I noticed that they put Big Mac sauce on it, or something similar, because I recognized the subtle sweet tang right away.Stephanie NievesI kept eating, and the more bites I took, the more I realized that the flavor of the burger actually comes from a combination of the cheese, bun, and condiments — not the patty.Stephanie NievesThe lettuce and tomato were also pretty overpowering, but I didn't mind.Stephanie NievesI took a bite of the patty alone, too. It was much softer than a meat patty, not surprisingly, and it had a faint herbal aftertaste.Stephanie NievesIt was neither good nor bad; it was just kind of there, but it did mimic the texture and taste of their meat-based patty (think the McDouble, not the Quarter Pounder).Stephanie NievesAs someone who grew up on their value menu items, I'd say it definitely compares. As I was eating the McPlant, I wasn't missing the chain's beef-based items at all.McDonald's Big Mac.Yu Chun Christopher Wong/S3studio/Getty ImagesOverall, I'd say if you were craving the classic McDonald's burger taste, then you should definitely order a McPlant.Stephanie NievesMy guess is that people aren't ordering it because they're either not vegetarian, so they don't feel the need to, or because they think they'll miss out on the classic flavors we know and love.McDonald's double cheeseburger.Erin McDowell/InsiderI'm here to tell you that the McPlant's got all of that: the sweet ketchup, the melty cheese, the juicy lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles, and apparently even the fan-favorite Big Mac sauce.Erin McDowell/InsiderMcDonald's doesn't need to change anything about its McPlant recipe, because as a meat-loving fast food eater, I was satisfied.Stephanie NievesBut if they want me to buy it again — over the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, or Crispy Chicken Sandwich — then they'll need to change the price.Stephanie NievesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 15th, 2022

We Analyzed the Emissions 4 Families Generated in a Week. Here’s What We Learned About Living Greener

If 2021 was one of our last, best, chances to save the planet, it was also the year that we bought lots and lots of stuff, cooped up at home and frustrated with the pandemic. That shopping acted counter to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint; consumption drives about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions… If 2021 was one of our last, best, chances to save the planet, it was also the year that we bought lots and lots of stuff, cooped up at home and frustrated with the pandemic. That shopping acted counter to the goal of reducing our carbon footprint; consumption drives about 60% of greenhouse gas emissions globally, as the factories that make our stuff and the ships and trucks that bring it to us generate emissions, not to mention the emissions caused by mining for raw materials and farming the food we eat. Amazon alone reported in June that its emissions went up 19% in 2020 because of the boom in shopping during the pandemic. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Still, it can be hard, as an individual or a family, to care enough to change habits. Buying things has become one of the few sources of joy for many people since COVID-19 began sweeping the globe—and shopping online has become necessary for people trying to stay at home and avoid potential exposure. But goods are so cheap and easily available online that it feels harmless to add one more thing to your shopping cart. Convincing yourself to be environmentally conscious in your shopping habits feels a bit like convincing yourself to vote—obviously you should do it, but do the actions of one person really matter? As I kept buying things that I thought I needed while cooped up at home, I wondered: how much was my shopping, individually, contributing to climate change? Those pairs of extra-soft sweatpants, those reams of high density rubber foam that I use to baby-proof my apartment, those disposable yogurt bins and takeout food containers, all made from plastic and paper and other raw materials; was I—and other U.S. families spending so much money on stuff—making it that much harder to reach the COP26 goal of preventing warming from going beyond 1.5°C? Read more: Our Shopping Obsession is Causing a Literal Stink In order to estimate the carbon footprint of the shopping habits of families like mine, I asked four families in four cities—Denver, Colo., Atlanta, Ga., San Francisco, Calif., and Salem, Mass.—to track their spending the week beginning on Cyber Monday, Nov. 29, so I could try to determine what parts of their holiday spending were most harmful to the environment. I chose to calculate their carbon footprint rather than other impacts like the amount of water used to make the products they bought because scientists agree on the urgency of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to protect the planet’s future.   Courtesy photoThe baby in the Salem family opens a holiday gift. Measuring one’s carbon footprint is difficult, especially because much of the environmental impact from spending is upstream, at the factories that burn fossil fuels to make cars, for example, and at the farms that raise cows for our consumption and release methane. So I asked for help from David Allaway, a senior policy analyst at the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, who has been working for years to calculate the carbon footprint that comes from consumer spending. To figure out how much the consumption habits of Oregonians contribute to climate change, and what the state should be doing to remedy this, Allaway commissioned the Stockholm Environment Institute to produce the first state-level analysis of the environmental footprint of Oregon’s consumer spending in 2011. This analysis, called consumption-based emissions accounting, roughly estimates the emissions that come from consumer purchases in 536 different categories, including things as specific as beef cattle, books, and full-service restaurants. It counts the emissions of all purchases by consumers, regardless of where those emissions were created—in Mexico, picking, packing, and shipping bananas; in Saudi Arabia, drilling for and refining petroleum. Allaway has refined the analysis since then and completed it again in 2015. Allaway agreed to use the model he has honed to calculate the carbon footprint of these four families, based on how much money they spent in each category. The families sent me their expenses, excluding housing, and I entered them into the categories in Allaway’s model. This is, of course, an inexact model: The families only tracked one week of spending, and their spending was self-reported, so it’s possible they missed an expense or two. Still, the estimates give a good overview of the emissions driven by the behavior of different families. They only tracked one week of spending, and I prorated their electricity and power costs, so this is still an inexact calculator. A family might spend a lot one week and not much the following week. Still, the estimates give a good overview of just how much of a difference individuals can make in reducing their carbon footprint, and they shed light on exactly how our spending drives emissions. Although many consumers have a lot of guilt about disposing of things once they’re done with them, whether it be plastic packaging or a shirt that they’ve worn a few times and then stained, we just looked at consumption. That’s because the emissions from the disposal of goods is tiny compared to the emissions created from producing something in the first place. “By the time you purchase something, 99% of the damage has already been done,” Allaway told me. This means that the “reduce” part of “reduce, reuse, recycle,” is the most important. Read more: How American Consumers Broke the Supply Chain Buying less stuff is a piece of reducing emissions, but families can most reduce their carbon footprints through their eating and travel habits. The Denver family, which is vegetarian and has solar panels on their roof, had a significantly smaller footprint than the others. The families that ate beef and dairy and that bought plane tickets were responsible for the most emissions. There’s a reason the Swedish have a word “flygskam,” or “flight shame”: one flight can cancel out the most tightfisted family’s progress for a week. In general, spending on services and experiences, like concert tickets or museum subscriptions, is more environmentally friendly than spending on goods, because part of what you are paying for is labor. Allaway estimates that every $100 spent on materials accounts for about three times more emissions than $100 spent on services. Of course, there are exceptions—spending $100 on a steak dinner for two could have higher emissions than spending $100 on groceries to make a vegan meal at home. A few more quick caveats: these are all families with annual incomes of more than $100,000, and I sourced them from friends of friends and social media. They are all white, which is the group that is responsible for the highest levels of consumption in the U.S., and as a result, the most emissions. TIME agreed to use only their initials and the cities in which they live in order to encourage them to openly share their consumption habits without fear of being shamed for their purchases. The results varied widely, from a family in San Francisco that had a weekly carbon footprint of 1,267 kg of carbon dioxide equivalent—about the same as driving from New York to San Francisco in a gas-powered car—to the family in Denver whose weekly carbon footprint was just 360 kgCO2, the equivalent of driving from Denver to Tucson. Here are their detailed weekly breakdowns. The Family That Spends a Lot Online A.S. + W.H. Location: Salem, Mass. Children: 1-year-old Combined household income: about $200,000 Total emissions: 819 kgCO2e   This family spent about $2,800 for the week and had a carbon footprint of 819 kgCO2e, the equivalent of a passenger car driving 2,058 miles, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. That’s the same as they would have emitted from driving from Salem, Mass. to Charleston, S.C., and back. A.S and W.H. own their home in the coastal community of Salem, Mass. and have a baby daughter. Before becoming parents, the couple was used to buying things and using them for years. But they’re finding that as their daughter grows, their pace of shopping has sped up. “One of the things that makes having a baby so wasteful is that you need something, and when you need it, you need it urgently,” A.S. told me. “You need it for three weeks, and then you don’t need it anymore.” Online shopping has been a source of contention for the couple; W.H. buys almost everything online, which his spouse thinks creates needless waste. The two have asked their extended family to cut back on buying goods and to gift them experiences or services instead, but relatives have been resistant to change. Their biggest single source of consumption-based emissions from the week, 138 kgCO2e, came from buying stuff online. They spent $298.99 for gifts for two family friends: two subscription boxes from Little Passports, which will send the recipients crafts, puzzles and books about different locations around the world for a year. This falls into the “dolls, toys, and games” category, which means the emissions-per-dollar would have been calculated the same regardless of what dolls, toys, and games they bought. Most of the emissions in this category come from the factories that make this stuff, rather than the materials mined or produced to create them, Allaway said, so it wouldn’t really matter environmentally whether they bought these toys at Amazon, Walmart or at a local toy store. They also bought a $269.20 wall sconce, a purchase that created 105 kgCO2e. Aside from those purchases, their biggest emissions came from the food they ate—specifically beef and dairy products. A.S. and W.H. had a pizza dinner with family during the week and a few snacks and coffees at local restaurants; all meals out, whether sit-down or take-out, are categorized as services. But they did buy around $40 worth of ice cream, yogurt and cheese, and they participated in a food share that provided them with around $28 of red meat (the protein changes every week.) Dairy and beef cause a lot more emissions than vegetables; the family spent roughly the same amount on vegetables and on dairy products, but the dairy was responsible for more than double the emissions as their veggies. The couple told me that they’ve been trying to cut back on dairy but have had a hard time finding an environmentally-responsible alternative; almond milk uses up crucial water, for example, and coconut milk requires a lot of emissions-heavy transport to get from where coconuts are grown to New England. They also wonder whether cutting back on things they enjoy is worth the sacrifice. Spending $30 on beef produces about 47 kgCO2e, which is the same as driving about 120 miles. Why should they stop buying cheese if their neighbor is driving that far to commute to and from work every week? “That’s one of the big pieces of friction between me and my husband,” A.S. told me. “I think he sees this as too big of a problem for any individual behavior to change.” The Family That Eats Out a Lot M.C. and N.A. Location: Atlanta, Ga. Children: 14 months and 3 ½ years old Combined household income: $100k-$200k Total emissions: 757 kgCO2e   This family spent about $1,361 for the week and had consumption-based emissions of 757 kg CO2e, the same as if they’d driven a car 1,902 miles, according to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. That’s the distance from Atlanta to Las Vegas. The Atlanta family’s emissions came in slightly lower than the Salem family’s. M.C. told me that this week was atypical for them because they usually buy diapers and fill up on gas, and they didn’t do either this week. They did eat out a lot—they were surprised by how much, once they started counting, but because of the way Allaway’s model works, restaurants are a lower-emissions way to spend money than buying a lot of goods. (The model doesn’t account for what you eat at a restaurant, but since so much of a restaurant’s bill is for service, rather than a tangible product, the spending often creates lower emissions.) M.C. told me that because they’re in their car so much, they often stop by quick-service restaurants like Chick-Fil-A to get a fast dinner if they don’t have time to prepare something at home. The pandemic has made them feel guilty about the environmental repercussions of eating out so much, because even sit-down restaurants serve food on disposable plates, with plastic utensils. But their biggest source of emissions for the week was something out of their control—electricity generation. Their electricity bill is about $200 a month but can be as high as $500 in the summer and winter, the family told me. I prorated that to $50 a week, which led to 254 kg CO2e, one of the highest single weekly sources of emissions for any family. (That’s the equivalent of a car driving from New York to Detroit.) The Atlanta and Denver households had higher emissions from their electricity and natural gas bills than the other two families in part because these regions are more reliant on coal-fired power plants, Allaway said. N.A., who works in finance, takes public transit to work, and the family has been trying to move away from spending money on things and toward spending on experiences. But something like cutting back on red meat or being more conscious about the products they buy can be hard, M.C. said. She has enough going on already. “With two little kids, I don’t think about it,” she said. The Family That Travels A.A. and M.T. Location: San Francisco Children: 18 months Combined household Income: more than $300,000 Total emissions: 1,267 kg CO2e   The wealthiest families create the most emissions, and that was certainly true with the San Francisco family, which was the highest-earning of the four families and which generated the highest emissions: the equivalent of driving from San Francisco to Miami. A.A. told me she thought the family had been buying way too much stuff online, and they did buy more stuff online than any of the other families —$60 on clothes from Target, $23 for a baby float on Amazon, $48 for diapers on Amazon, $21 for baby wipes. They also shopped at brick and mortar stores—$26 at a local bookstore, $37 at CVS for razors and snacks, $18 at a local hardware store. And they spent a lot on restaurants—about $300 in total. But none of those purchases drove the bulk of their emissions. Instead, that came from a $400 purchase of two round-trip airline tickets from San Francisco to Los Angeles, which created 436 kg CO2e, the single largest emissions from any purchase of the four families for the week. Because prices were discounted when they bought the tickets, that’s probably a low estimate of the emissions from their flight; the emissions calculator run by myclimate, an international nonprofit, estimates that a roundtrip flight for two between those two cities would generate 614 kg of CO2e, more than the 333 kg the family would have created by driving. (Taking a train would have lowered their emissions further, but also would have taken 12 hours one way.) They also spent $400 on hotel reservations, leading to 123 kg CO2e. This is intuitive—we all know that flying creates a lot of emissions. But it was illuminating to see just how much more it creates than other things do. That one trip to LA bumped the family’s emissions from 708 kg in the week to 1,276. A.A. told me they haven’t flown much since the pandemic started and bought the tickets to attend a close friend’s wedding. In the last two years, they’ve flown far less than they did before the pandemic and before having children. Instead, they’ve stayed home and explored San Francisco, or driven to destinations within an hour or two. They say they feel lucky to be able to do that where they live and will think twice before buying plane tickets on a whim going forward, but that unless costs go up, it may be hard to resist a getaway. The Family That Buys Used M.C. and N.A. Location: Denver Children: 9, 7, and 4 years old Combined household income: More than $200,000 Total emissions: 360 kg CO2e The Denver family has been trying to be more environmentally-conscious for years, and they had the lowest emissions, despite having the most family members (although they were the only family without a kid in diapers.) Their emissions were far lower than those of the other three families, adding up to the equivalent of a drive from Denver to Tucson. They do just about everything they can do to reduce emissions: M.C. doesn’t eat meat or cook it at home; her husband and children only eat meat if it’s served at a friend’s house. The family tries to avoid dairy products (one of the items they bought this week was vegan “egg”nog); they buy used clothes from ThredUp; their home has solar panels. M.C. said the family has always been conscious about reducing waste but became more serious about it a few years ago; when all their friends were moving to the suburbs, they moved to a more urban area of Denver, where N.A. could walk to work. “The driving we were doing was more impactful than the plastic wrap on a bag of pasta,” M.C. said. The couple knew they would have to make some sacrifices when they had children, but they didn’t want to give up on their environmental goals. They decided to wrest control over what their life looked like. “We realized that we could make some more intentional choices, set up our life in a way that not only decreased environmental impact, but also made our life happier,” she said. They enjoy being able to walk to so many places. M.C. has really never liked meat; she would occasionally cook it for her kids but stopped doing so three years ago. They’ll treat themselves to real cheese or real eggnog occasionally, but usually they go vegan. Their biggest emissions came from their use of natural gas—they spend about $44 a month on natural gas, despite their solar panels. Because solar power is so variable—it may be sunny one day, and then cloudy for a week—most systems that run on renewables like solar also use some natural gas. Still, the Denver family avoided a lot of emissions in places where other families didn’t. They spent $156 on clothes, but all from ThredUp, a used clothing site, which generated only 17 kg CO2e, according to Allaway’s estimates. The San Francisco family, by contrast, spent $61 on new clothes, which resulted in 26 kg CO2e. (Allaway’s model treats used goods as having a very low carbon footprint because it assigns the carbon footprint to the previous user, who bought them new; but buying used clothes does have some carbon footprint since the clothes are transported from the warehouses where they’re stored.) M.C. said she knows her kids might resist wearing used clothes as they get older and that there may be a day when they don’t want Christmas gifts from the thrift store. But they’re trying to teach their children not to be consumed by materialism, she said. She wants them to find happiness from something other than new things. When I asked M.C. if she thought her sacrifices were worth it, she said yes. Her family’s choices allow the couple and their children to focus on relationships, she said. She hopes she has motivated some friends and family to change their behavior, too. But ultimately, it’s about being aware of the urgency of environmental awareness, she said. “By trying to reduce my own emissions, that helps me stay in touch with the broader issues and think about the ways I can be an advocate for change in the areas that really will have an impact,” she said. What Your Family Can Do Of course, the emissions that the Denver family saved compared to the San Francisco family would be wiped out by one individual taking an hourlong flight on a private jet. It can be hard to rationalize making dramatic behavioral changes when reducing individual emissions can feel fruitless. Even the annual emissions of the San Francisco family—around 66 metric tons of CO2—pale in comparison to the electricity use of just one U.S. supermarket over the course of a year: 1,383 metric tons of CO2. But changing your behavior is not fruitless, Allaway says. Individuals by themselves might not be able to make enough of a difference to prevent the worst effects of climate change, but collective action—lots of individuals working together—might. Still, many of our preconceived notions about what to buy can be wrong. In the winter, Oregon consumers who buy tomatoes from nearby British Columbia have a bigger carbon footprint than those who buy tomatoes from faraway Mexico, because the Canadian tomatoes are grown in power-hungry greenhouses, Allaway has found. Out-of-season apples from New Zealand may have less of a carbon footprint than local apples that have been put in cold storage for months. Coffee beans delivered in a fully recyclable steel container have a higher climate impact than beans delivered in non-recyclable plastic because of the steel container’s weight. There are behavioral changes you can make that will almost certainly lower your emissions. You can reduce your driving and flying. You can switch to renewable energy. You can buy lighter goods, which use less materials than heavyweight goods, and buy things that have to travel a smaller distance to get to your home (although that in itself is hard to parse out, because a “locally-made” toy may have been created from materials imported from China, which negates the benefits of buying something local). You can buy things that are made from plants rather than animals, and buy used goods whenever possible. (Of course, there’s a caveat there, too—buying a used car that is a gas guzzler would be worse than buying a new electric vehicle.) But if you’re trying to choose individual products that were created with lower emissions, you’ll have a tough task ahead of you. Right now, one of the only ways to know which products have the lowest carbon footprint is to read their life cycle assessment, which is a document that measures their environmental impact from cradle to grave. In Europe, many companies also offer Environmental Product Declarations, which are abbreviated versions of life-cycle assessments, says Sarah Cashman, director of Life Cycle Services at ERG, an environmental consulting group. These documents are hard to decipher, dotted with words like “eutrophication potential,” (the nutrient runoff from farming or manufacturing). EPD InternationalA chart in a 49-page diaper environmental product declaration document There is no report card that lets customers easily see which products are made, transported, and sold with lower emissions than others. Amazon has tried to start labeling some products as “climate-pledge friendly” so that shoppers can choose green products that have received a third-party sustainability certification from a qualifying organization. But even that puts a lot of burden on a consumer to read every label on every item that they buy. So much responsibility for creating less waste has already fallen onto the consumer that asking them to take one more step, as the families above said, is too much. There is a solution, though. Consumers can demand more from companies, who can take on the responsibility of lowering emissions for the products they make every step of the way. The supply chains of eight global industries account for more than 50% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Boston Consulting Group. There are companies that already have a head start. Patagonia says that 86% of its emissions come from the raw materials it uses and their supply chains, and through its Supply Chain Environmental Responsibility Program, it is aiming to use only renewable or recycled materials to make its products by 2025. Most companies won’t do this unprompted, but if consumers start shopping at places that are reducing emissions in their supply chain, companies will start looking at their supply chains in order to stay in business. A database of companies that are legitimately working on this would be a good first step. It may feel like there’s nothing you can do as an individual or as a family, but collective action could look like millions of families preferring to shop at places that are working to dramatically reduce emissions in their supply chain. Buying less may not be an option for many families, but Americans have proved, if nothing else, that they know how to shop smart.  .....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 6th, 2022

The 6 best BBQ smokers in 2021

From electric and pellet grills to propane and charcoal ones, these are the best bbq smokers you can buy in 2021. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Owen Burke/Insider A smoker is a great way to preserve food and spend some quality time outdoors. Traeger's Pro 575 Pellet Grill is best for thanks to its temperature retention and ease of use. Read about how we test kitchen products at Insider Reviews. Smoking food is a great way to impart flavor, but also preserve food for longer, extending the refrigerator life of smoked seafood and meat anywhere from a few days to a few weeks (and months in the freezer).The best bbq smoker for you depends on the convenience you seek. You can get a barrel smoker, which will require regular hands-on tending of firewood, or you can buy a pellet grill which you can monitor and tend from your smartphone.In between, there are charcoal, electric (sans pellets), and propane smokers. The thing to keep in mind when purchasing one is how much time you want to spend hunched over or standing beside it and how smokey you really want your food. "They're all great options," said Steven Raichlen, creator of Barbecue University, Project Smoke, and countless grilling cookbooks. Read about how we tested the best bbq smokers here.Here are the best BBQ smokers in 2021Best BBQ smoker overall: Traeger Pro 575Best versatile BBQ smoker: Camp Chef Woodwind Wifi 24Best upgrade BBQ smoker: Traeger Ironwood 650Best charcoal BBQ smoker: Weber 18" Smokey MountainBest propane BBQ smoker: Cuisinart 36" Vertical Propane SmokerBest electric BBQ smoker: Masterbuilt 30" Electric SmokerBest BBQ smoker overallOwen Burke/InsiderIf you're going to buy just one grill for barbecuing, Traeger's Pro 575 is a tank built to maintain perfect temperature and last well over a decade.Warranty: Three-year limitedCooking surface area: 575 square inchesMax temperature: 500 degrees FahrenheitPros: Excellent temperature control, WiFi-equipped, hefty steel built to lastCons: WiFi connectivity could be better, LCD interface not as intuitive as others, not modular like some other brandsWhether you're just getting into barbecuing or you've spent more days than you can count hunched over a stick burner, a pellet grill like Traeger's Pro 575 is hassle-free and offers steady temperature and smoke. It's also the heaviest-duty grill we've found for less than a thousand dollars.One of the most important things about a smoker, or any barbecue grill that you're going to operate for hours at a time, is heat retention. If you can't keep steady heat, you're really going to struggle to time and cook your food to perfection. We've tried multiple pellet grills (see more below), and while they've all done their job swimmingly, the Traeger is built with the thickest steel and maintains a temperature within about five degrees of your target. Try and do that with a manual charcoal or wood-burning grill and you'll have your work cut out for you (you'll also learn quickly why Pitmasters earn their distinction).Frankly, apart from the quality of the steel, all pellet grills follow the same design, more or less. Traeger might be the original, but there are plenty of other brands that come close, and if you want to save some money, Raichlen suggests looking to Green Mountain Grills' models. We had some trouble connecting to WiFi using this grill. Our router was on the other side of two brick walls, and it couldn't hold a connection. Though since relocating it, a lone wall hasn't been a problem. Traeger, like many other brands, falls short in the way of accessories. Camp Chef's Woodwind WiFi series, which we also recommend, is modular; you can add on grill boxes, a 28,000 BTU side-burner (great for searing, boils, and clam bakes), a pizza oven, and much more. If all you want your pellet grill to do is smoke and grill (they all max out at around 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so you won't necessarily pull off any high-heat searing), Traeger's is the one that's built the best and made to last the longest, which is why we think it's worth spending a little extra.$899.99 FROM TRAEGER$799.95 FROM WILLIAMS SONOMAOriginally $899.95 | Save 11%$899.99 FROM ACE HARDWARE$799.95 FROM THE HOME DEPOTOriginally $899.95 | Save 11%Best versatile BBQ smokerOwen Burke/InsiderCamp Chef's Woodwind WiFi lets you monitor your grill from inside, and it's compatible with many attachments.Available sizes: 20", 24", 36"Cooking surface area: 800 square inchesMax temperature: 500 degrees Fahrenheit in the pellet grill, and upwards of 600 with the SidekickWarranty: Three-year limitedPros: Modular with several options for attachments, easy to move, industrial-style castersCons: Doesn't maintain temperature as well as our top pick (but only a matter of 15 degrees)While we like the Traeger Pro series for people specifically looking to smoke and grill (with smoke), we haven't found any pellet grills as versatile as those in the Camp Chef Woodwind series, which we've been testing for nearly two years now.Apart from offering remarkably user-friendly interfaces, the smokers in the Camp Chef Woodwind series (we think the 24-inch model with 800 square inches of cooking surface area is best for most people) are compatible with multiple accessories, and it's hard to imagine something you couldn't cook. As far as attachments, we recommend Camp Chef's 28,000-BTU Sidekick, an extremely powerful propane burner capable of searing anything and boiling massive stock pots of seafood (we put the latter to the test twice). The Sidekick also comes with a flat-top griddle and a grease catchment system, and you can add on the "Outdoor Oven" which is really a stainless steel pizza oven. There's also the Sidekick Sear, which works like a miniature propane grill with cast-iron grates and a stainless steel cover. While this grill isn't made of the same hefty steel used in Traeger's Pro series, we haven't encountered any issues with it, and it's already been through two winters, accidentally left uncovered through snow, rain, and even hail, and is no worse for wear. We also really love the casters, which seem to be the same kind you'd find on industrial stainless steel carts.If you want a do-it-all outdoor smoker (or grill for that matter) that lets you smoke, grill, braise, bake, boil, and more, this is our favorite modular option. Read our full review of the Camp Chef Woodwind Wifi 24.$899.99 FROM CAMP CHEFOriginally $999.99 | Save 10%Best upgrade BBQ smokerOwen Burke/InsiderTraeger's Ironwood 650 Wood Pellet Grill with Wi-Fi is the best designed and most even-heating pellet grill we've tried.Available sizes: 650 sq. inches, 885 square inchesCooking surface area: 649 square inches, 885 square inchesMax temperature: 500 degrees FahrenheitWarranty: 3-year limitedPros: Easy to assemble, great app with over 1,600 recipes, superior heat retention and temp controlCons: Not very modular, no storage underneath, only two smoke level settingsTraeger originated the pellet grill, and the brand makes the hardiest smokers we've tested thanks to the 13-gauge stainless steel exterior, cold-rolled stainless steel interior parts, and double side wall interior. This construction, along with the 36,000-BTU burner, allows for better and higher heat retention (500 degrees Fahrenheit to the Pro model's 450).The Ironwood series also comes with Traeger's Downdraft exhaust, a convection feature that helps circulate smoke rather than channel it upward and out a chimney. While Traeger only offers basic "smoke" and "super smoke" (the latter is only available when cooking at temps lower than 225), the fan helps up the smoke level at higher temperatures far more than we've seen in any other smoker.Between the double-walled stainless steel sides and the downdraft fan, you're going to get the most precise heat and smoke retention possible, which will also translate to better fuel efficiency. Where we saw upwards of 15-degree-Fahrenheit temperature fluctuations with other grills (Traeger's Pro model included) this one barely veered 5 degrees in either direction, and it stayed burning the longest without running out of pellets or reading an error message.One minor downside is that there's no under-grill storage, which is really handy for those who like to keep a stock of pellets but don't have anywhere dry to keep them.Overall, if you want something comparable to the ability of a Kamado Joe or Big Green Egg but doesn't require the fuss or extra investment (depending on what package you choose), the Traeger Ironwood series is your best bet for both function and longevity in the pellet grill department.$1299.95 FROM THE HOME DEPOTOriginally $1399.95 | Save 7%Best charcoal BBQ smokerWeberWeber's 18" Smokey Mountain has the same timeless and sturdy design as its Original Kettle, only better-equipped for smoking.Available sizes: 14", 18", 22"Cooking surface area: 481 square inchesMax temperature: N/A, since this is a coal fireWarranty: 10-year limited on the grill itself, 5-year limited on the grates, 2-year on all other parts.Pros: Simple but effective, full manual control, small but plenty of cooking areaCons: Labor-intensive, difficult to maintain temperature controlWhen it comes to charcoal smokers, there are almost too many designs to consider. That said, unless you're throwing massive backyard barbecues, smoking multiple briskets, or dealing with entire hogs, you probably don't need a ginormous offset barrel smoker (however alluring it may look). We find that Weber's Smokey Mountain series' 18-inch smoker offers the most for the casual at-home smoker. It has a relatively small footprint of about 20 inches, is made with the same solid steel and porcelain enamel as the brand's Original Kettle grills, and it will outlast most charcoal smokers on the market for the same price.If you do want a large offset smoker, Raichlen says look to Horizon, Yoder, or Lang — I'd also add Texas Originals to the list — but know that they'll all weigh hundreds of pounds, and cost you four figures. We plan on testing these larger grills soon.Depending on the amount of cooking surface area you require, you can size up to 22 inches (726 square inches) or down to 14 inches (286 square inches), but we think the 481 square inches offered by the 18-inch model (between two vertically integrated grates) is plenty for most.Setting this grill up is easy and straightforward, and once assembled, a pile of charcoal (we recommend hardwood charcoal), some wood-smoking chips (or split wood), and a basin (included) filled with water are all you need. You'll have to keep on top of the fire and airflow throughout to find the perfect balance — and make no mistake, that is an art unto itself, but also part of the fun.I've spent the better part of a decade tinkering with and smoking all sorts of things with this very grill, and looking back on that experience I can say this: my most monumental successes in smoking have occurred on this very smoker, but so too have my greatest failures. If these prospects don't appeal to you, save yourself the anguish and consider a pellet, propane, or electric smoker instead.Approach this grill for what it is knowing that while it's in some ways a starter smoker, and one that you can easily store away or station in tighter spots, it will allow you to produce a wide variety of superb smoked goods.$379.00 FROM WEBERBest propane BBQ smokerOwen Burke/InsiderMasterbuilt's 30" Electric Smoker operates with nothing but electricity and wood chips, and is as easy and predictable as smoking gets. Available sizes: 30"Cooking surface area: 711 square inchesMax temperature: 275 degrees FahrenheitWarranty: 1-year limitedPros: Intuitive, glass door to check progress, efficientCons: No casters or handles, short warrantyElectric smokers are among the easiest smokers to operate. They're insulated, maintain almost perfect temperature control, and can cook for hours and hours without much attention (save for adding wood chips).Masterbuilt's 30" Electric Smoker comes practically preassembled (attach the legs, the digital monitor, a latch, and it's ready) and will be up and running with the press of a few buttons.There's no fussy fuel to deal with, and all you have to do is remember to deposit a handful (half-cup) of either dry or pre-soaked wood chips, which you'll want to replenish about every hour or so, depending on the temperature you set.Vertical electric smokers are the same shape, size, and every bit as straightforward as propane smokers, but without the hassle of dealing with propane (namely, running out of it). The size lets you cook just about everything you would on a mid-sized barrel grill or smoker, and a glass window in the door is a nice touch that allows you to keep an eye on things without having to open it up and lose heat.We wish this grill had handles because we have had to move it quite a bit, and there's no great place to get a grip on it. Plan to keep this grill more or less where you park it, and know that you'll need a solid electrical source.Adding wood chips might also be sort of a nuisance if you're not familiar with smoking, but it's incredibly easy compared with maintaining a fire, and it also helps you keep things from overcooking. Otherwise, there's not much to worry about with this smoker. We smoked fish, meat, and a pile of vegetables in it and everything came out perfectly, evenly browned and cooked through. This is as fail-safe and as effortless as smoking gets.$279.00 FROM LOWE'SWhat else we consideredOwen Burke/InsiderDyna-Glo Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker: The Dyna-Glo is a fine grill in design, but we're not convinced that it will last more than a few seasons based on looking at the materials used. Expensive as it is, there are plenty of options that will probably well outlast it for a little more money.Green Mountain Grills Trek: If you're looking for a pellet grill you can take on the go, the Trek is a great option, though it comes with the same price tag as some full-sized budget options, so you'll want to think whether you want to spend so much on a portable grill. That said, it offers great temperature retention and it's also great for smaller outdoor spaces like balconies, and we highly recommend it.Nexgrill 29-inch Barrel Charcoal Grill/Smoker: If you're on a tight budget or you just want a charcoal grill (and smoker) in a pinch, this is the best you're going to do. Our hesitation is that this is one of those grills that you could outfit with gaskets to function very well, but the quality of the parts means it's not destined to survive past a couple of years with moderate use.Z Grills: Another great budget option, Z Grills offers pellet grills in plenty of sizes, and comes with a free waterproof grill cover, which few other brands offer. We're still testing this one, and may yet recommend it as a budget option.How we test BBQ smokersOwen Burke/InsiderWe recently retested three of our top picks and three other, newer models, paying careful attention to the heat retention, temperature fluctuations, general ease of use, and the overall quality of the materials and design.We also walked through Lowe's and The Home Depot opening and examining every smoker there. We looked at fittings, the quality of the seal between the lid and the grill, and the thickness of the steel.We then spoke with several experts including chef Shola Olunloyo of Studio Kitchen and veteran author and Barbecue University TV host Steven Raichlen to find out what makes a good smoker. Here's what we looked for in our top picks:Smoking method: While smoking over hardwood is probably the most fun experience, we all agreed, not everyone wants to spend the better part of a day hunched over a fire. And while pellet grills might not offer the same flavor charcoal and wood-burning grills do, they come mighty close and are almost entirely hands-off.Ease of use: Inextricably linked to the smoking method is the ease of use. The learning curve on wood-burning grills is stratospheric. Pellet grills offer a great balance between smokiness and user-friendliness, but some don't hold a steady temperature all that well, which presents another set of problems.Material quality: Most smokers have to live outside, and while a cover is a worthy investment, a grill is still going to have to withstand the elements. Flimsier metals and cheap wheels were immediately disqualified. Thicker steel and industrial-grade casters were positive points, especially on competitively priced smokers.Performance: Because heat retention and maintenance of a consistent temperature is so paramount to smoking, we chose grills that excelled in those areas with little oversight. In the case of charcoal or wood-burning, you are entirely on your own.Warranty: We considered warranty to a degree, and looked for at least two years, but in the case of some picks we made concessions. In the end, the grill is only so good as the quality of the materials and build, and it's hard to call in a warranty on something like a grill or smoker because "normal wear and tear" involves starting fires and spilling grease. Plus, it's going to live outdoors. We find that investing in a grill that's built to last is ultimately the better consideration.BBQ smoker FAQsOwen Burke/InsiderWhat is the easiest type of smoker to use?The easiest smoker to use is an electric smoker, followed by a propane or pellet smoker. Each of these smokers maintains temperature automatically, so as long as you have your fuel in place (wood chips, propane, or pellets, respectively), you don't have to do much of anything at all.What can I put on a smoker?You can put just about anything you'd eat on a smoker. Meat is what most of us associate with smokers, but vegetables, fruits, and all types of seafood can be extraordinary on the grill. Figuring out the endless options and recipes is part of the fun of taking up smoking as a hobby.How does a BBQ smoker work?BBQ smokers work any number of ways based on cold or hot smoking. Both methods use wood, wood pellets, wood chips, propane, or charcoal, creating smoke to cure and flavor. Temperature and smoke level can all vary greatly, but cold smoking occurs below 86 degrees, and hot anywhere above 86 degrees.How do I make a brine?When you want to smoke food, oftentimes a recipe will call for a marinade or brine. You can do this any number of ways, and arguments will abound until the end of time over how to make the perfect brine, but here's a basic recipe for preparing and smoking with a brine, start to finish:Note: You'll want to start this process between about four and 24 hours ahead of starting your smoker.Add a 1:1 ratio of salt and sugar into a gallon of water in a stock pot.Heat up to a boil, or until the salt and pepper dissolve. Add any herbs or other seasonings.Let it cool for at least an hour or two, then place it in the fridge.Once cool, add food and let marinate for anywhere from a couple of hours (vegetables, lighter meats and seafoods) to 12 or even 24 hours (beef, pork).Remove food from the brine, pat dry, and light the grill.Add any dry rub or glaze you want to put on.Wipe or spray grill with a little cooking oil. You can use olive oil or any oil of your choice, and because you're cooking at low heat, you don't have to worry about smoke or burning points.Apply food, checking regularly to make sure fuel and temperature remain consistent.Remove when ready (a thermometer helps).Check out our other grilling guidesThe Home DepotThe best gas grillsThe best charcoal grillsThe best charcoal for grillingRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 23rd, 2021

Meatless "omnipork" launching in China

Right Treat is launching a vegetarian pork to try take a bite out of China's massive meat market. CNNMoney's Sherisse Pham reports......»»

Category: videoSource: cnnApr 23rd, 2018

I tried Taco Bell"s viral new "giant Cheez-It" menu. It"s definitely the next cult classic.

Taco Bell is testing out food made with huge Cheez-Its — 16 times the normal size, in fact. Author Molly O'Brien says it's just as good as it looks. Molly O'Brien Taco Bell is testing out two new menu items: Tostadas and Crunchwraps made with giant Cheez-Its. They're currently only available at one location in Irvine, California. I stopped by to try them.  They were extra cheesy and salty, but I loved them — and I hope Taco Bell expands availability. Taco Bell is currently testing out some new Cheez-It menu items at a single location in Irvine (where this global food chain is headquartered). One is the "Big Cheez-It Tostada."Taco BellThe other is the "Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme."Taco BellGiven Taco Bell's reputation for tasty specialty items, I decided to go try them out.Molly O'BrienTaco Bell has a long history of crafting new menu items and partnering with well-known brands to create innovative (and sometimes cult classic) foods.Molly O'BrienIn fact, the brand recently brought back the famous Mexican Pizza in May after a public rallying for its return.Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza.Taco BellThere was even a sign on the door that said they'd already run out at the Irvine location.Molly O'BrienPlus, the Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos have stood the test of time for a decade now.Joshua Blanchard/Getty Images for Taco BellCurrently, the Cheez-It goodies are only available while supplies last — which will surely be less than the maximum of two weeks they're planned for.Molly O'BrienThe Big Cheez-It Tostada is $2.49.Molly O'BrienIt’s all the fun of a typical Taco Bell tostada, but on a massive Cheez-It.Molly O'BrienThe Cheez-It is roughly 16 times the size of a normal one — which sounds like a dream on its own, honestly.Molly O'BrienThe Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme is more expensive at $4.29.Molly O'BrienThis version of the Crunchwrap Supreme swapped out the original tostada shell for an oversized Cheez-It cracker instead.Molly O'BrienBut be forewarned: The Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme isn't actually on the menu inside.Molly O'BrienIt's only available to order via the Taco Bell website and mobile app.Molly O'BrienWhen I first arrived at the Taco Bell in Irvine, I was pleasantly surprised by how modern it felt.Molly O'BrienAll orders were taken on enormous touchscreen computers.Molly O'BrienIt feels more COVID-friendly, in my opinion.Molly O'BrienAfter selecting the "specialties" menu, I found the Big Cheez-It Tostada easily.Molly O'BrienIt was 10 a.m. on a Thursday, so it wasn't that busy.Molly O'BrienI was almost afraid I was going to be waiting in line fighting for a spot amongst a big crowd eager for their Cheez-It specialty items.Molly O'BrienThere was a drive-thru too, but I wanted to go inside to get my items for the real in-person experience.Molly O'BrienThe process of ordering to get my food only took a few minutes.Molly O'BrienI ordered the Tostada inside on the touchscreen and the Crunchwrap Supreme in the app.Molly O'BrienI soon had my food and headed outside.Molly O'BrienI opened the Big Cheez-It Tostada box to find exactly what you'd expect: an enormous Cheez-It cracker topped with all of the classic tostada fixings, like meat, sour cream, diced tomatoes, lettuce and cheese.Molly O'BrienYou can make customizations when you order like removing sour cream or adding certain toppings, but I wanted to taste what it was like in its original form.Molly O'BrienAnd it tasted exactly what you’d expect, too — a whole lot of Cheez-It!Molly O'BrienThe 10-year-old child inside of me was singing like it was fifth-grade snack time again.Molly O'BrienNext, I dove into the Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme.Molly O'BrienI immediately crunched into that enormous Cheez-It cracker on the first bite.Molly O'BrienIt was an interesting combination, but I thought it went well together.Molly O'BrienIf anything, it just made something that was pretty cheesy even more cheesy.Molly O'BrienBoth items were very salty, but that's no surprise for those who have indulged in Taco Bell before.Molly O'BrienThe Big Cheez-It Crunchwrap Supreme was much larger than the Tostada — it was about 1.5 times the size of my hand!Molly O'BrienThe Tostada was about the same size as my hand, and it was definitely lighter than the Supreme.Molly O'BrienStill, I was nervous that if I bit into the wrong part of the cracker, the Tostada would crack apart.Molly O'BrienI'd recommend eating it over a plate just in case that happens, to avoid the tragedy of losing your entire meal.Molly O'BrienOverall, it was not a disappointing experience to try these two new menu items.Molly O'BrienI'd say those who like Cheese and Cheez-Its will definitely be fans of these new creations.Molly O'BrienNot to get all cheesy, but I would personally support bringing these Cheez-It creations to a wider global audience beyond just this one location in Irvine.Molly O'BrienIf we can enjoy them (and I did!), so should you.Molly O'BrienRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 1st, 2022

How Netflix, Hollywood"s most innovative disruptor, is facing disruption with layoffs, streaming competition, and subscriber loss

Since Netflix began making original shows in 2013, the streaming giant has upended show business with its ambitious innovation. Now it's being disrupted by competitors like Disney+, has lost subscribers, and is making layoffs. Netflix.SOPA Images/Getty Images. Netflix has been disrupting the business of Hollywood since the streamer started making original shows in 2013. But now Netflix is being disrupted by increased competition, a stock price plunge, and subscriber loss.  The streamer has reined in spending and laid off hundreds of employees across divisions. Netflix, the disruptive streaming company whose innovative strategy and meteoric growth remade the entertainment industry, is facing some challenges of its own. After it lost subscribers for the first time ever earlier in 2022, the company's stock price tumbled. Though Longtime Netflix bears like Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter were somewhat vindicated by this development, its impact has rippled through the company. Layoffs hit employees through the spring — first, at Netflix fan site Tudum, then in two additional rounds that affected hundreds of employees and full-time contractors.With Disney reporting stronger results, including subscriber growth in its first quarter, Netflix has found itself on the back foot — and its troubles have sent shock waves through Hollywood's creative community. Writers, producers, agents, and more stakeholders spoke to Insider about concerns that the company might reduce its creative ambitions, production budgets, and content spend along with its workforce.Read more about Hollywood insiders fears that Netflix's golden creative age is over after explosive growth created 'a quality control issue'SUBHEDBut Netflix moved quickly to reset the perception that its dominant position in Hollywood was at risk. In addition to announcing plans for an ad-supported tier, set to launch later in 2022, the company also began work to develop live streaming capabilities. Read more about who Netflix might hire to run its advertising businessNetflix even made a play for the US rights to Formula 1 racing, the streamer's first foray into live sports (Disney's ESPN eventually won the bid).In May, Netflix launched one of its most ambitious live event yet, a massive comedy festival that featured performers from Dave Chappelle to Amy Schumer in venues across Los Angeles — it was a massive logistical undertaking that served to promote the Netflix brand and also highlight the streamer as a supportive creative home for top comedians, even controversial ones. Read more about how Netflix staged its massive 11-day comedy festival with more than 300 starsThe company also published a new update to its famous culture memo, affirming its commitment to both representation anD artists' freedom of expression — principles that could occasionally come into conflict, according to one expert. "Sometimes content can harm individuals and communities," said Y-Vonne Hutchinson, cofounder and CEO of ReadySet, a boutique consulting firm focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.Read more about how Netflix's overhauled culture memo could create conflict at the companyAs competition for streaming subscribers has intensified, Netflix has also broadened its appetite when it comes to new shows. Insider reviewed internal Hollywood agency documents that revealed some series on the streamer's 2022 wishlist: a female "Jack Ryan," its own version of "New Girl," and an "American Idol"-style reality competition.Read more about what Netflix is looking for in its next series, according to leaked agency documentsAt Netflix, disruption starts with its contentIt was just a decade ago that Netflix released its first original series, Norwegian mob drama "Lilyhammer," but in that time the streamer has challenged the entertainment industry with its global approach to making, marketing, and distributing content.Netflix, which started as a DVD-by-mail business, is now the global leader in subscription streaming entertainment, ending 2021 with 222 million paid members. The company's success in streaming has pushed legacy media businesses including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and NBCUniversal to pursue direct-to-consumer strategies of their own. And Netflix hasn't stopped there, in recent years expanding its domain to include publishing, live events, gaming, and other adjacent businesses. Read more about how Netflix's video-game strategy is starting to take shapeWith its headquarters in Los Gatos, California, Netflix has always been product- and data-driven. This has kept it steps ahead of the rest of Hollywood when it comes to creating consumer-facing experiences. For example, after years of offering almost no data about its viewership, Netflix unveiled a list of the platform's most popular shows and movies in the US and around the world. In 2021, Netflix went a step further and introduced a Top 10 website to share information about its most-viewed titles. Though what's offered is only a piece of the full picture about how people consume content on the platform, the site unveils more data than any other streamer provides. Read more about why new viewership data gives Netflix an advantage over Disney+ and other players in the streaming wars How Netflix first disrupted the TV screen and moved into merch and moreWhen Netflix first arrived in Hollywood, its rivals valued it as a platform for their long-forgotten back catalog shows and movies. The checks Netflix wrote for library titles in those early days helped prop up revenue at the studios. But soon it became clear that the company's appetite for content would encompass more than just licensed programming. The streamer launched original programming with a focus on prestige projects from high-profile creatives — series like "House of Cards" and "Orange Is the New Black" came to define its early slate of originals. But over the years, Netflix has systematically moved to conquer each major genre, from documentaries to standup specials to reality TV to YA programming. Netflix's first reality show launched in 2017 — "Ultimate Beastmaster" was a global competition series in the vein of "American Ninja Warrior" that put contestants on complicated, flashy obstacle courses shaped like a literal beast. Netflix has since minted reality hits from "Love Is Blind" to "Selling Sunset."Check out the pitch deck that sold Netflix on "Ultimate Beastmaster," the streamer's first reality showThe company also made a big investment in original programming for kids, in a bid to create loyal viewers and potentially reduce subscriber churn. But like its competitor Disney, Netflix is increasingly leaning into existing IP for its kids shows. "A real hit in the kids space needs a lot of years to build an audience. It needs like 5, 6, 7 seasons to really get its sea legs and then be able to sell backpacks at Walmart," said Cyma Zarghami, the former president of Nickelodeon who now runs kids-focused media company MiMo Studios. Read more about how Netflix and other streamers are fighting to find the next 'CoComelon' amid a streaming war for kids contentToday, the streamer makes and distributes hundreds of original titles each year, minting global hits out of shows including "Stranger Things" and "Bridgerton" and movies from "Red Notice" to "Don't Look Up." Netflix has also upended the notion that international programming doesn't resonate with US audiences, turning South Korean thriller "Squid Game" and Spanish drama "Money Heist" into two of its most-watched shows. Read more about the reasons 'Squid Game' became a global phenomenon, according to a Netflix marketing execNetflix has been able to ramp up international production because it kept tabs on global content trends for years. After slowly moving into a few markets outside the US, the company in 2016 launched a large-scale expansion, making its service available in 130 countries all at once. It now operates in every country except China, North Korea, Russia, and Syria.Read more about how Netflix's 'Squid Game' is part of a robust international TV strategy that's far ahead of rivals, especially in South KoreaIn September 2020, Netflix — which is led by co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos — promoted longtime entertainment executive Bela Bajaria to the role of global head of TV. She had previously overseen the company's local-language originals and her promotion, which led to the departure of Netflix veteran Cindy Holland, signaled that the company would prioritize international programming going forward. Now, all of Netflix's rivals — including Disney+ and HBO Max — are increasing their global programming efforts. View our full interactive chart of Netflix's top leaders Netflix is expanding into publishing, events, and other consumer businessesAs Netflix's constellation of original IP grows, the company has been looking for new ways to boost fandom around the world, including with large-scale live events like Tudum, which streamed for fans globally in September 2021, and the more selective The Queen's Ball: A Bridgerton Experience, which is touring the US and Canada. Read more about how 'Bridgerton' live events boost a broader strategy to retain subscribers and build fandomsNetflix's first attempt at adapting its IP for the physical world was through merchandise. It now sells "Stranger Things" cassette players and "Squid Game" track suits at Walmart in just another example of how it's looking to create touchpoints with fans. Read more about Netflix's partnership with Walmart to sell 'Squid Game,' 'Stranger Things,' and 'Ada Twist' merchNetflix also has moved aggressively into publishing, hiring former Condé Nast employees to create fandom site Tudum, which releases news about upcoming Netflix titles and interviews with stars. Read more about how Netflix hired Condé Nast and Time Inc. journalists to build a 'fandom engine' to market its showsWith Tudum, Netflix is now competing directly with fan sites like Whats-on-Netflix.com, which obsessively tracks the comings and goings of programming on the service. The streamer also is going up against children's publications like Highlights with Netflix Jr. magazine, which it will ship to the homes of viewers with young children. And it's tackling Hollywood trade publications like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter with Queue, which is edited by Vanity Fair alum Krista Smith and pushes awards contenders with photos and profiles. Read more about the 'Netflix stan' who runs the website What's on NetflixAwards is an area where Netflix has made a particularly sizable investment. Though its studio rivals also spend lavishly to give their films and TV shows the best shot at nabbing Oscars and Emmys, Netflix has gone a step further. It owns highly visible billboards around Los Angeles and hosts premieres at the theaters it purchased there and in New York.That Apple TV+ beat Netflix to become the first streamer to nab the best picture Oscar — with its 2022 win for "CODA" —  is a signal of how much Netflix is still seen as an interloper by many in Hollywood.  Read more about how Netflix built Hollywood's noisiest awards operation in its quest for the best picture OscarRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 29th, 2022

T-Mobile vs Verizon: You"ll get better value from T-Mobile, but Verizon"s network generally has better coverage

The battle between T-Mobile vs Verizon is all about coverage and costs, and which is best for you depends upon your specific needs. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.R.Classen via Shutterstock & Verizon T-Mobile has faster 5G and more "premium" data than Verizon for a lower monthly cost. However, Verizon tends to have better coverage, especially in rural areas.  You'll need a 5G phone to make the most of any of these plans. T-Mobile and Verizon are often compared when picking a mobile carrier, as T-Mobile is more affordable than Verizon, and you might be wondering why.Despite this price disparity, T-Mobile gives you more unthrottled, "premium" data in the basic and mid-range plans compared to Verizon's comparable plans. Plus, T-Mobile has better international and travel perks than Verizon.At the same time, Verizon generally has better coverage, especially in rural areas. Verizon also has better perks overall, especially if you subscribe to Hulu, Disney Plus, or ESPN Plus. You can also get 50% off a connected device plan for smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots.  T-Mobile vs Verizon: coverageGenerally speaking, Verizon has more expansive coverage than T-Mobile, especially in rural areas. With that said, T-Mobile has improved its network to better cover highways, even boasting it has twice the 5G coverage on highways compared to Verizon. You can check out each carrier's LTE and 5G coverage map below. Just note that these maps are taken from each carrier's website, and have not been independently verified. In our experience, the general consensus that Verizon has better coverage, especially in rural areas, is true. However, the several T-Mobile users we know aren't bothered when they don't have signal in a rural area while a Verizon user does.Verizon's coverage mapVerizon has far-reaching coverage. The red dots represent where Verizon's mmWave 5G Ultra Wideband networks are located.VerizonYou can get a closer look at Verizon's coverage where you live and where you often go on the Verizon website. The map will also show you finer coverage detail for Verizon's mmWave 5G Ultra Wideband network. T-Mobile's coverage mapT-Mobile's coverage is extensive, but it doesn't extend as far as Verizon's, especially in rural areas.T-MobileYou can get a closer look at T-Mobile's coverage where you live and where you often go on T-Mobile's website. The map will also show you finer coverage detail for T-Mobile's mmWave 5G Ultra Capacity network. 5G coverageT-Mobile claims to have better 5G coverage with faster-than-LTE speeds than Verizon, and that much appears true, according to PCMag's annual Fastest Mobile Networks project.T-Mobile vs Verizon: is network speed or network coverage more important?Our experience shows that coverage is more important than speeds. While T-Mobile has a more expansive, faster 5G network than Verizon, just note that faster data speeds don't matter if T-Mobile doesn't reach your most frequented areas. Any coverage at all, even if it means slower data, is better than no coverage for phone calls or texting, especially around your home and home town, or in case of an emergency.  T-Mobile vs Verizon: "premium" data vs normal dataA cell tower on a mountain ridge in the Appalachian Mountains.Alex Potemkin / Getty ImagesT-Mobile and Verizon offer "premium" data, referring to full-speed, unthrottled data regardless of network traffic.Normal, non-premium data can still deliver full speeds, but it's "deprioritized", which means data speeds can be throttled down when the carrier's network is experiencing high traffic from heavy data use by lots of people at the same time.  T-Mobile offers more premium data in its basic Essentials (50GB) and mid-range Magenta (100GB) plans than Verizon's equivalent 5G Start (no premium data) and Play More/Do More plans (50GB). T-Mobile vs Verizon: 5G network typesGetty/Dong WenjieFirst off, 5G is the next generation of cellular networks, and it's designed to be a major upgrade over the 4G LTE we've been used to for years. T-Mobile and Verizon basically have two types of 5G networks.T-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G and Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband networks are high-band and mid-band 5G networks. High-band 5G networks have short range, but deliver the fastest speeds. Mid-band 5G networks have medium range, but they can still carry faster speeds than LTE. T-Mobile's Nationwide Extended Range 5G and Verizon's 5G Nationwide networks are low-band 5G networks. Low-band 5G networks have the longest range of the three, but their speeds are only comparable to LTE.  Carriers are working to improve data speeds on their low-band 5G networks. As you might expect, you need a 5G-compatible phone to connect to a 5G network of any kind.T-Mobile Essentials vs Verizon 5G Start plansPlan detailsT-Mobile EssentialsVerizon 5G StartPrice per month with automatic payments discounts included. (Doesn't include taxes and fees.)One line: $60Two to three lines: $90 Four lines: $105Five lines: $120Contact T-Mobile for more than five lines.One line: $70Two lines: $120Three lines: $135Four lines: $140Five or more lines: $150Unlimited dataUp to 50GB of premium data per line. After 50GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.Also, T-Mobile says "Essentials customers may notice speeds lower than other customers."Yes, but unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.Unlimited data capsNoneNone5G network typeT-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G and Extended Range 5GVerizon's 5G NationwideMobile hotspotUnlimited 3G speeds hotspot. Optional high-speed hotspot availableNoMaximum video streaming quality480p480pInternationalUnlimited talk, text and 2G (128kbps) data in Mexico and Canada.Call back to the U.S. from 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations for $0.25/minute. Free texting in 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations. Unlimited international texting from the U.S.0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon's TravelPass.Other perksParamount Plus free for one year.Either Disney Plus, Apple Music, Apple Arcade, or Google Play Pass free for six months.Best forPeople who want fast data speeds at the best value, as long as they're within T-Mobile's network coverage area. Also good for those who travel often or have family abroad.People who want the best coverage at the best value, but aren't bothered by occasionally throttled data speeds.T-Mobile Magenta vs Verizon 5G Play More and 5G Do More plansPlan detailsT-Mobile MagentaVerizon 5G Play MoreVerizon 5G Do MorePrice per month with automatic payments discounts included. Doesn't include taxes and fees.One line: $70Two to three lines: $120 Four lines: $140Five lines: $160Contact T-Mobile for more than five lines.Taxes and fees includedOne line: $80Two lines: $140Three lines: $165Four lines: $180Five or more lines: $200One line: $80Two lines: $140Three lines: $165Four lines: $180Five or more lines: $200Unlimited dataUp to 100GB of premium data per line.After 100GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.Up to 50GB of premium data per line.After 50GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.Up to 50GB of premium data per line.After 50GB, unlimited data speeds may be slower during high network traffic times and places.Unlimited data capsNoneNoneNone5G network typesT-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G and Extended Range 5GVerizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G NationwideVerizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G NationwideMobile hotspot5GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Then unlimited slower 3G data.25GB high-speed mobile hotspot data.Then unlimited slower data.25GB high-speed mobile hotspot data.Then unlimited slower data.Maximum video streaming quality480p, up to 4K with optional $15/line/month T-Mobile MaxUP data add-onUp to 4K in Verizon's Ultra Wideband network areas. Otherwise 720p (needs to be activated by contacting Verizon)Up to 4K in Verizon's Ultra Wideband network areas. Otherwise 720p (needs to be activated by contacting Verizon)International and travel perksUnlimited talk, text and 5GB high-speed data in Mexico and Canada.Call back to the U.S. from 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations for $0.25/minute. Free texting and 5GB of high-speed data in 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations. Unlimited international texting from the U.S.Four full-flight streaming sessions a year, unlimited in-flight texting.One-year AAA membership.0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon's TravelPass.0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon's TravelPass.Other perksNetflix Basic (SD, one screen).Paramount Plus for one year.Apple TV Plus for one year.Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus.Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. Apple Music for six months.Up to 50% off watch, tablet, hotspot, or connected-car Hum plans.One TravelPass day per month (transferable up to 12 days each year).600GB Verizon Cloud storage. Disney Plus, Apple Music for six months.Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass for six months.Best forPeople who want fast data speeds and occasionally need mobile hotspot connectivity at the best value, as long as they're within T-Mobile's network coverage area. Also good for those who travel often or have family abroad.People who want fast data speeds, need mobile hotspot connectivity, and the best coverage. Also good for people who have or want Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple Arcade of Google Play Pass, and ESPN Plus.People who want fast data speeds, need mobile hotspot connectivity, and the best coverage.Also good for people with data-connected devices, like smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots.T-Mobile Magenta Max vs Verizon 5G Get More plansPlan detailsT-Mobile Magenta MaxVerizon 5G Get MorePrice per month with automatic payments discounts included. Doesn't include taxes and fees unless specified otherwise.One line: $85Two to three lines: $140 Four lines: $170Five lines: $200Contact T-Mobile for more than five lines.Taxes and fees includedOne line: $90Two lines: $160Three lines: $195Four lines: $220Five or more lines: $250Unlimited dataUnlimited premium data per line.Unlimited premium data per line.Unlimited data capsNoneNone5G network typesT-Mobile's Ultra Capacity 5G and Extended Range 5GVerizon's 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G NationwideMobile hotspot40GB of high-speed mobile hotspot data. Then unlimited slower 3G data.50GB high-speed mobile hotspot data.Then unlimited slower data.Maximum video streaming qualityUp to 4K.Up to 4K in Verizon's Ultra Wideband network areas. Otherwise 720p (needs to be activated by contacting Verizon)International and travel perksUnlimited talk, text and 5GB of high-speed data in Mexico and Canada.Call back to the U.S. from 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations for $0.25/minute. Free texting and 5G high-speed data in 210+ Simple Global countries and destinations. Unlimited international texting from the U.S.Full-flight texting and WiFi streaming.0.5GB data, talk, and text to/from Mexico and Canada. Slow 2G data after 0.5GB.Unlimited texting from the U.S. to over 200 countries.Other international/travel requirements need additional purchase of an international Verizon plan, or Verizon's TravelPass.Other perksNetflix Standard (HD, two screens) Netflix.Paramount Plus for one year.Apple TV Plus for one year.Hulu, Disney Plus, ESPN Plus.Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass. Apple Music for six months.Best forPeople who use massive amounts of data who want fast data speeds and often need mobile hotspot connectivity at the best value, as long as they're within T-Mobile's network coverage area. Also good for those who travel often or have family abroad.People who use massive amounts of data who want fast data speeds, the best coverage, and often need mobile hotspot connectivity.Also good for people who have or want Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple Arcade of Google Play Pass, and ESPN Plus.Also good for people with data-connected devices, like smartwatches, tablets, or hotspots.Which is the best carrier for you: T-Mobile or Verizon?T-Mobile offers the best value, most premium data, and fastest data speeds if you know for a fact that its networks cover your home region and the places you usually travel to. It's also the best option if you often travel to Canada and/or Mexico, and the 210-plus Simple Global countries.Verizon offers a decent amount of premium data in its Play More/Do More plans, but we don't recommend the 5G Start plan. The lack of premium data and lack of access to Verizon's fastest Ultra Wideband 5G network in the basic 5G Start plan is a red flag. Still, Verizon is the best option if you know T-Mobile's coverage doesn't reach certain areas you frequent, and Verizon has tempting media streaming subscription perks. You've picked a carrier, now here are the best phonesAntonio Villas-Boas/InsiderMost mid-range and premium phones come with 5G connectivity, and they'll make the most out of these unlimited data plans from either T-Mobile or Verizon.We recommend the iPhone 13 as the best phone overall for most people, and Android users should take a good look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus. Check out why and our other recommendation for the best phones you can buy in 2022.Glossary of terms4G LTE is often simply known as LTE, is a wireless network standard that carriers began introducing to the mainstream in 2010. It provides fast data speeds, but its limited capacity results in slower data speeds, especially in congested areas like major cities.5G is the next generation of cellular networks, and it's designed to be a major upgrade over 4G LTE. The main benefits of 5G include significantly higher capacity, faster data speeds, and lower latency.Higher capacity means more devices can stream and load heavy-duty content without congestion.Faster data speeds means you can stream and load higher quality photos, videos, and music. Low latency results in a snappier, more immediate experience when browsing the web, loading content in apps, or playing multiplayer games. Low-band 5G networks have the longest range of the three types, but their speeds are only comparable to LTE.Mid-band 5G networks, also known as "C-band," have medium range, but they can still carry faster speeds than LTE.High-band 5G networks, also known as millimeter wave (mmWave), have short range, but deliver the fastest speeds that can be even quicker than the average home's internet speed, which is about 224 megabits per second (Mbps), according to Ookla's Speedtest.Premium data: Both T-Mobile and Verizon have replaced the old "unlimited" data cap system with their "premium" data models. That means there's no longer a data cap for unlimited data, where if you used a certain amount of data you would either get throttled to significantly slower speeds, or charged for extra data use. Rather, the current "premium" data model means you get full-speed, unthrottled data up to a certain data cap. After you've used up all your premium data, you still get full-speed data, but your connection gets "deprioritized" and speeds can be throttled down when the carrier's network is congested with high-traffic use.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 28th, 2022

Another Food Processing Plant Shutters Operations, Adding To Long List Of Closures 

Another Food Processing Plant Shutters Operations, Adding To Long List Of Closures  A top food processing plant will be closing down one of its facilities in Campbell County, Tennessee, adding to the long list of closures over the last year.  George's Prepared Foods announced its chicken processing plant in the small town of Caryville would be shuttering operations by the end of the summer.  The reason for the closure was not disclosed and has caught local officials by surprise. Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton told local news WVLT that he's trying to keep the plant open to save hundreds of jobs.  "I have contacted the Tennessee Economic and Community Development staff to request assistance in keeping the plant open or facilitating a sale to another operator "I have requested Governor Lee's assistance as well. My primary concern is for the welfare of the dedicated workers who have been the backbone of this operation. Our prayers go out to them as well as our very best efforts to keep them employed in Campbell County," Morton said. Senior Vice President of George's Food, Robert George, released a statement about the closure, citing it's "a challenging time to be in the prepared foods business, and we have been carefully evaluating how we navigate the volatility in beef and pork markets."  George didn't explain what "challenging time" meant and if that was due to rampant inflation pressuring operating margins.  The announcement of the closure pushed up the number of closed US food processing plants over the last year to 100. The list below are plants destroyed, damaged, or impacted by "accidental fires," disease, or other causes (courtesy of The Gateway Pundit):   1/11/21 A fire that destroyed 75,000-square-foot processing plant in Fayetteville 4/30/21 A fire ignited inside the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Monmouth, IL 7/25/21 Three-alarm fire at Kellogg plant in Memphis, 170 emergency personnel responded to the call 7/30/21 Firefighters on Friday battled a large fire at Tyson's River Valley Ingredients plant in Hanceville, Alabama 8/23/21 Fire crews were called to the Patak Meat Production company on Ewing Road in Austell 9/13/21 A fire at the JBS beef plant in Grand Island, Neb., on Sunday night forced a halt to slaughter and fabrication lines  10/13/21 A five-alarm fire ripped through the Darigold butter production plant in Caldwell, ID 11/15/21 A woman is in custody following a fire at the Garrard County Food Pantry 11/29/21 A fire broke out around 5:30 p.m. at the Maid-Rite Steak Company meat processing plant 12/13/21 West Side food processing plant in San Antonio left with smoke damage after a fire 1/7/22 Damage to a poultry processing plant on Hamilton's Mountain following an overnight fire 1/13/22 Firefighters worked for 12 hours to put a fire out at the Cargill-Nutrena plant in Lecompte, LA 1/31/22 a fertilizer plant with 600 tons of ammonium nitrate inside caught on fire on Cherry Street in Winston-Salem 2/3/22 A massive fire swept through Wisconsin River Meats in Mauston 2/3/22 At least 130 cows were killed in a fire at Percy Farm in Stowe 2/15/22 Bonanza Meat Company goes up in flames in El Paso, Texas 2/15/22 Nearly a week after the fire destroyed most of the Shearer's Foods plant in Hermiston 2/16/22 A fire had broken at US largest soybean processing and biodiesel plant in Claypool, Indiana 2/18/22 An early morning fire tore through the milk parlor at Bess View Farm 2/19/22 Three people were injured, and one was hospitalized, after an ammonia leak at Lincoln Premium Poultry in Fremont 2/22/22 The Shearer's Foods plant in Hermiston caught fire after a propane boiler exploded 2/28/22 A smoldering pile of sulfur quickly became a raging chemical fire at Nutrien Ag Solutions 2/28/22 A man was hurt after a fire broke out at the Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery 3/4/22 294,800 chickens destroyed at farm in Stoddard, Missouri 3/4/22 644,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, Maryland 3/8/22 243,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in New Castle, Delaware 3/10/22 663,400 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, MD 3/10/22 915,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Taylor, IA 3/14/22 The blaze at 244 Meadow Drive was discovered shortly after 5 p.m. by farm owner Wayne Hoover 3/14/22 2,750,700 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Jefferson, Wisconsin 3/16/22 A fire at a Walmart warehouse distribution center in Plainfield, Indiana has cast a large plume of smoke visible throughout Indianapolis. 3/16/22 Nestle Food Plant extensively damaged in fire and new production destroyed Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/17/22 5,347,500 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Buena Vista, Iowa 3/17/22 147,600 chickens destroyed at farm in Kent, Delaware 3/18/22 315,400 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, Maryland 3/22/22 172,000 Turkeys destroyed on farms in South Dakota 3/22/22 570,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Butler, Nebraska 3/24/22 Fire fighters from numerous towns are battling a major fire at the McCrum potato processing facility in Belfast, Maine. 3/24/22 418,500 chickens destroyed at farm in Butler, Nebraska 3/25/22 250,300 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Franklin, Iowa 3/26/22 311,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 3/27/22 126,300 Turkeys destroyed in South Dakota 3/28/22 1,460,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Guthrie, Iowa 3/29/22 A massive fire burned 40,000 pounds of food meant to feed people in a food desert near Maricopa 3/31/22 A structure fire caused significant damage to a large portion of key fresh onion packing facilities in south Texas 3/31/22 76,400 Turkeys destroyed in Osceola, Iowa 3/31/22 5,011,700 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Osceola, Iowa 4/6/22 281,600 chickens destroyed at farm in Wayne, North Carolina 4/9/22 76,400 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/9/22 208,900 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/12/22 89,700 chickens destroyed at farm in Wayne, North Carolina 4/12/22 1,746,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Dixon, Nebraska 4/12/22 259,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Minnesota 4/13/22 Fire destroys East Conway Beef & Pork Meat Market in Conway, New Hampshire 4/13/22 Plane crashes into Gem State Processing, Idaho potato and food processing plant 4/13/22 77,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/14/22 Taylor Farms Food Processing plant burns down Salinas, California. 4/14/22 99,600 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/15/22 1,380,500 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Lancaster, Minnesota 4/19/22 Azure Standard nation's premier independent distributor of organic and healthy food, was destroyed by fire in Dufur, Oregon 4/19/22 339,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/19/22 58,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Montrose, Color 4/20/22 2,000,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Minnesota 4/21/22 A small plane crashed in the lot of a General Mills plant in Covington, Georgia 4/22/22 197,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/23/22 200,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/25/22 1,501,200 chickens destroyed at egg farm Cache, Utah 4/26/22 307,400 chickens destroyed at farm Lancaster Pennsylvania 4/27/22 2,118,000 chickens destroyed at farm Knox, Nebraska 4/28/22 Egg-laying facility in Iowa kills 5.3 million chickens, fires 200-plus workers 4/28/22 Allen Harim Foods processing plant killed nearly 2M chickens in Delaware 4/2822 110,700 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 4/29/22 5 million honeybees are dead after a flight carrying the pollinator insects from California to Alaska got diverted to Georgia (New) 4/29/22 1,366,200 chickens destroyed at farm Weld Colorado 4/30/22 13,800 chickens destroyed at farm Sequoia Oklahoma 5/3/22 58,000 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 5/3/22 118,900 Turkeys destroyed Beadle S Dakota 5/3/22 114,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/3/22 118,900 Turkeys destroyed Lyon Minnesota 5/7/22 20,100 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 5/10/22 72,300 chickens destroyed at farm Lancaster Pennsylvania 5/10/22 61,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/10/22 35,100 Turkeys destroyed Muskegon, Michigan 5/13/22 10,500 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 5/14/22 83,400 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/17/22 79,00 chickens destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/18/22 7,200 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/19/22 Train carrying limestone derailed Jensen Beach FL 5/21/22 57,000 Turkeys destroyed on farm in Dakota Minnesota 5/23/22 4,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/29/22 A Saturday night fire destroyed a poultry building at Forsman Farms in Howard Lake, Minnesota 5/31/22 3,000,000 chickens destroyed by fire at Forsman facility in Stockholm Township, Minnesota 6/2/22 30,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 6/7/22 A fire occurred Tuesday evening at the JBS meat packing plant in Green Bay, Wisconsin 6/8/22 Firefighters from Tangipahoa Fire District 1 respond to a fire at the Purina Feed Mill in Arcola, Louisiana 6/9/22 Irrigation water was canceled in California (the #1 producer of food in the US) and storage water flushed directly out to the delta. 6/12/22 Largest Pork Company in the US Shuts Down California Plant Due to High Costs 6/13/22 Fire Breaks Out at a Food Processing Plant West of Waupaca County in Wisconsin 6/14/22 Over 10,000 head of cattle have reportedly died in the recent Kansas heat wave 6/23/22 George's Inc.: Poultry and Prepared Foods announced it will close one of its food processing plants in Campbell County, Tennessee Meanwhile, in London, Ontario, Aspire Food Group recently announced that its new insect production facility would produce 9,000 metric tons of crickets yearly for human and pet consumption across North America, according to Canadian Manufacturing.  As a reminder, the World Economic Forum (WEF) technocrats urged people weeks ago to ditch meat for "climate beneficial foods" such as seaweed, algae, and cacti. Part of the new world order is to reset the global economy and reengineer what people eat. This is being accomplished by influential billionaires, politicians, celebrities, biased academics, wealthy philanthropists, and the bureaucrats of international organizations and institutions.  Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 06:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 28th, 2022

Victor Davis Hanson: America Is More Fragile Than The Left Understands

Victor Davis Hanson: America Is More Fragile Than The Left Understands Authored by Victor Davis Hanson via AmGreatness.com, "There is a great deal of ruin in a nation." - Adam Smith The Left has been tempting fate since January 2021 - applying its nihilist medicine to America on the premise that such a rich patient can ride out any toxic shock. Our elites assume that all our nation’s past violent protests, all its would-be revolutions, all its cultural upheavals, all its institutionalized lawlessness were predicated on one central truth—America’s central core is so strong, so rich, and so resilient that it can withstand almost any assault.  So, we can afford 120 days in 2020 of mass rioting, $2 billion in damage, some 35 killed, and 1,500 police injured.  We can easily survive an Afghanistan, and our utter and complete military humiliation. There was no problem in abandoning some $70-80 billion in military loot to terrorists. Who cares that we tossed off a billion-dollar new embassy, and jettisoned a $300-million refitted air base, as long as our pride flags were waving in Kabul? Certainly, we can afford to restructure all our universities, eliminate free expression and speech, and institute Maoist cultural revolutionary fervor in our revered institutions of higher learning—once the world’s greatest levers of scientific advancement and technological progress.  We can jettison merit in every endeavor, from banning the world’s great books to grading math tests to running chemistry experiments. And still, a resilient America won’t notice. We assumed that our foundational documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—our natural bounty in North America, our cherished rule of law, our legal immigration traditions that drew in the most audacious and hardworking on the planet, and our guarantees of personal freedom and liberty led to such staggering wealth and affluence that nothing much that this mediocre generation could do would ever endanger our resilience. But such inheritances are not written in stone. America, as the world’s only successful multiracial democratic republic, was always fragile. It was and is always one generation away from disappearing—should any cohort become so foolish as to mock its past, dismantle its institutions, revert to tribalism, redistribute rather than create wealth, and consume rather than invest.  We are that generation. And we have an accounting with nature’s limitations, given there is always a corrective, not a nice one, but remediation nonetheless for every excess.  Our major cities are no longer safe. Somehow, the Left has nearly wrecked San Francisco in less than a decade. A once beautiful and vibrant city is lawless, dirty, toxic, often boarded up, and losing population. It has turned into a medieval keep of well-protected knights in secure fiefs while everyone else is engaged in a bellum omnium contra omnes. We know it is so because California public officials talk of anything and everything—Roe v. Wade, transitions to electric cars, hundreds of millions of dollars in COVID-19 relief for illegal aliens—to mask their utter impotence to address feces in the street, the random assaults on the vulnerable, and the inability to park a car and return to it intact. Ditto the Dodge City downtowns of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, and a host of others. In just four or five years, they have given up on fully funding the police, aggressive prosecutors indicting the violent, and ubiquitous civil servants ensuring the streets are free of trash, vermin, flotsam, jetsam, and human excrement.  There are natural reactions to such excess. The most terrifying is that our once-great cities, especially their downtowns, will simply shrink into something like ghost towns—our versions of an out-West Bodie, or an abandoned Roman city in the sand like Leptis Magna, or a Chernobyl.  But the culprit will not be a played-out mine, or encroaching desert, or a nuclear meltdown, but the progressive leadership of a worn-out, bankrupt people who no longer possess the confidence to keep their urban civilization safe and viable. And so, they either fled, or joined the mob, or locked themselves up in fortified citadels, both in fear to go out and terrified of losing what they owned.  We are seeing that deterioration already in our major cities. Stores are boarded up. Women cease to walk alone after sunset. Police officers walking the beat are now rare. Hate crimes, smash-and-grab robberies, and carjackings go unpunished. Streets are filthy and littered. Commerce and human interaction cease at dusk, as if in expectation that zombies will emerge to control the streets. Criminals when arrested are not always identified—the media censoring names and descriptions on their own selective theories of social justice. But again, the culprit is not the COVID plague or want of money. It is us, we who turned over our cities to the incompetent, the selfish, the timid, and the violent.  There is again an antidote. But doubling the police force, bringing back broken-windows policing, electing tough prosecutors, moving the homeless from the downtown into hospitals and supervised shelters beyond the suburbs, arresting, convicting, and incarcerating the guilty—all that seems well beyond this generation’s capacity.  Would not such efforts be unfair to the mere rock-thrower? Who says the fentanyl user has no right to defecate on the street? Would not our jails become overcrowded? Would the incarcerated be unduly overrepresented by this or that group? Joe Biden took a strong economy—albeit one that after three serial spendthrift presidencies faced huge national debt and a rendezvous with fiscal sobriety—and has utterly ruined it.  He discouraged labor participation with federal checks. He ensured that his minions on the politicized Federal Reserve Board would keep interest rates artificially low. Biden inflated the money supply while debasing the value of the currency. He brought back mindless regulation and put ideological commissars in place to ensure the corporations, banks, and Wall Street would be woke, allowing ideology to warp ancient economic laws that kept prices stable, supply and demand in balance, and incentives to work and profit.  Many thought Biden would have needed at least four or five years to wreck such a strong economy with such nihilism rather than a mere 16 months. Yet nature is about to step in with a recession and perhaps even a depression to correct the Biden madness. If interest rates rise, capital dries up, businesses close, employers cut back, consumers no longer have access to easy money, and the nation becomes inert, then the country will be worse off, spend less—and that too will be a brutal solution of sorts to Biden’s hyperinflation and stagflation. Still, it is hard to see how anyone in the government might prefer the proper and necessary medicine at this late hour. An updated Simpson-Bowles plan still could address long-term insolvency. Meaningless regulations could be pruned back. The tax code could be radically altered and simplified to encourage investment rather than consumption. Entitlements could be calibrated by incentives to become productive rather than to remain inert. All of that might return us to a sound currency, a strong GDP, long-term financial solvency, and general prosperity for all. But are not such medicines perceived as worse than the disease? There is an answer to the open border, when upwards of 4 million illegal aliens will flow into the United States in a mere two years, for the most part without audits, English, capital, income, and vaccinations—and with no idea how to house, feed, or provide health care for millions without background checks. At this late date, the corrections of stopping catch and release, ending amnesties, hiring more border patrol officers and immigration judges, or building more detention centers are too little too late. Eventually, Americans will become acculturated to large enclaves of endemic poverty, as millions with no familiarity with the United States are neither assimilated nor integrated.  The border will then disappear, and northern Mexico and the southern United States will become indistinguishable, as millions simply drift back and forth in the manner of an ancient Gaul or Germania. Large areas of Texas, Arizona, and California are already returning to such pre-state status. Or the alternate corrective will be the completion of a massive wall from the Pacific to the Gulf, with strict audits of all would-be immigrants, immediate deportations for lawbreakers, and legal only immigration that is measured, diverse, and meritocratic. We are reaching the inflection point quickly and will either experience the absolute destruction of the border or a radical backlash, given that the current mess is unsustainable. Either a nation with borders survives or a tribal and nomadic region supplants it. If America chooses to shut down refineries, put our rich oil and natural gas fields off-limits, cancel pipelines, and demonize the fossil fuel industry, then, of course, prices for carbon fuels will explode.  The Biden Administration talks nonsensically about Teslas, batteries, and electric replacements. But it is not greenlighting mining for the critical minerals needed for batteries. It is not encouraging nuclear power plants to provide enough power for a clean fleet of 200 million electric cars. There is no Marshall Plan to wean America off mostly non-polluting natural gas and gasoline onto electricity-hungry engines. Instead, Biden begs the Saudis, the Russians, the Venezuelans, and even the Iranians to pump the fuel he will not. He seeks to drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve that can supply only a fraction of the oil America gulps daily. He defines his own pre-midterm, self-created mess as a national emergency to tap a reserve he could never fill or refill. So, what is the natural corrective to unaffordable fuel?  A likely Biden recession or depression, in which the middle classes simply do not enjoy jobs that pay enough to afford $6-9-a-gallon gas. And so, they will not drive. Vacations, optional shopping trips, and visits to friends—all that and more will taper off. Gas will stabilize at near-European levels, and the people, as planned, will be rerouted into dirty and unsafe subways and mass transit.  Biden will be happy. But America won’t be the same mobile country.  America’s bounty was predicated on each generation following the prompt of the prior, modulating when change was necessary, but not daring to tamper with the foundational principles and values that explained our singular wealth, power, and leisure.  This generation in its arrogance tested fate. It felt itself smarter and morally superior to its betters of the past. It lost that wager and now we the public are paying for its foolishness. To destroy America as we have always known it, there was far less necessary to ruin than our elite believed. Like a stunned adolescent whose reckless incompetence totaled the family car, the Left seems shocked that America proved so fragile after all. Tyler Durden Mon, 06/27/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 27th, 2022

Can Gold ETFs Bounce Back On Recessionary Fears?

Although 2022 has been extremely downbeat for stocks, gold has not posted a blockbuster performance either. But recessionary fears may provide some strength to the safe-haven metal gold. Gold closed out 2021 with a loss of 3.6%, marking its biggest annual decline since 2015. Although 2022 has been extremely downbeat for stocks, gold has not posted a blockbuster performance either. The biggest gold bullion ETF SPDR Gold Shares GLD is up 0.2% this year compared with a 21% decline in the S&P 500. Still, the yellow metal went a long way in protecting investors’ assets.Investors now will be curious to know what lies in store for gold ETF investing for the rest of 2022. Let’s figure out.But Can Recessionary Fears Boost Safe-Haven Gold?Several market watchers expect the U.S. economy to slip into recession in the near term due to faster and hefty Fed rate hikes. The Fed has downgraded its forecast for 2022 median real GDP growth from 2.8% in March to 1.7% for 2022. It has also lowered the growth rate expectations to 1.7% (from 2.2% in March) for 2023 and 1.9% (from 2% in March) for 2024. The unemployment rate is projected to rise from 3.5% to 3.7% for 2022, 3.5% to 3.9% for 2023 and from 3.6% to 4.1% for 2024.If recessionary fears heightened, gold may gain some strength. The inflation projection has been upped for this year, while the Fed expects inflation to cool off in 2023 and 2024. Gold is often viewed as an inflation-protected asset.But as the Fed is hiking rates and the greenback may rise backed by a hawkish Fed, gold does not have a very strong case for outperformance. The federal funds rate is projected to be 3.4% for 2022 from 1.9% in March, 3.8% for 2023 from 2.8% and 3.4% for 2024 from 2.8%. Gold is non-interest-bearing and hence it underperforms in a rising rate environment. Plus, gold shares an inverse relationship with the greenback.Renewed Upsurge in Virus CasesInfections caused by new coronavirus strains had a considerable adverse impact on Wall Street in the previous waves. Even if we have handled the latest strain Omicron, further mutations of the virus may continue to throw the global market in a wavering zone occasionally. The central banks will not likely be of much support anymore and a massive fiscal support is also unlikely. All these factors can brighten up the safe-haven trait of gold.U.K., China and India’s Covid-19 cases rose lately. China's capital Beijing is experiencing an "explosive" COVID-19 outbreak connected to bars. The commercial hub, Shanghai, conducted mass testing this month to contain a jump in cases tied to a hair salon, as quoted on Reuters.ETFs in FocusAgainst this backdrop, investors can keep track of regular gold ETFs like SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), iShares Gold Trust IAU, Aberdeen Standard Physical Swiss Gold Shares ETF SGOL, SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust GLDM and GraniteShares Gold Shares BAR. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports iShares Gold Trust (IAU): ETF Research Reports abrdn Physical Gold Shares ETF (SGOL): ETF Research Reports GraniteShares Gold Trust (BAR): ETF Research Reports SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust (GLDM): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 23rd, 2022

Billionaire investor Seth Klarman touts gold, blasts crypto, and questions the Fed"s resolve in a new interview. Here are the 7 best quotes.

The Baupost Group boss also championed the US dollar, and warned rising interest rates could punish funds that have taken too many risks. Seth Klarman.Getty Images/ Scott Olson Seth Klarman touted gold as a safe asset, and dismissed crypto as risky and pointless. The Baupost Group boss predicted the Federal Reserve would prematurely end its interest-rate hikes. Higher rates could spell trouble for funds that have taken too many risks, Klarman said. Seth Klarman trumpeted gold as a haven asset, dismissed cryptocurrencies as dangerous and pointless, and predicted the Federal Reserve would back down from its inflation fight during a rare interview with Harvard Business School, which was filmed in March and released this week.The billionaire investor and Baupost Group chief — widely seen as Warren Buffett's spiritual successor — also championed the US dollar, and warned rising interest rates could spell trouble for funds that have taken too many risks in recent years.Here are Klarman's 7 best quotes, lightly edited for length and clarity:1. "The kitchen-table reality for people is the cost of meat is up 10% or 20%, and the cost of driving a car is up 30% or 40%. These are nasty, massive increases now." (Klarman was underscoring how inflation is hitting Americans consumers.)2. "The market has come to believe in an omniscient Federal Reserve, and it's no such thing. These guys don't really know what they're doing in any deep way. It's a giant financial experiment, and we're at the mercy of their experiment that maybe is right now in the process of going wrong, so God help us."3. "The market has priced in five or six increases this year alone. What's hard to think about is whether the Fed will raise rates into a slowing economy and a melting-down financial market. My guess is they'll chicken out at some point." (Klarman asserted that inflation, lower stock prices, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the absence of last year's stimulus would cool the US economy.)4. "That's going to be a big shock that is going to test financial institutions. Who's been hedged? Who's been writing derivatives they shouldn't write? Who's been stepping out to take greater risks in their portfolio?" (Klarman was saying rising interest rates could catch out reckless and overleveraged funds.)5. "The US has had an enormous advantage of the dollar being the world's reserve currency for a very long time. It's unlikely to change anytime soon. It's hard to imagine people accepting Chinese currency, it's hard to imagine people accepting cryptocurrency. There are just too many uncertainties."6. "I'm a fan of gold. I think gold's valuable in a crisis. If the world turns to hell, the war expands and gets worse, God forbid a nuclear weapon is used, I think people are going to say: 'How do I know what anything's worth anymore? I'm going to make sure I have some gold because I don't want to not have money at a time of desperation.' It may never come to that, but I think it's prudent to have a little bit of your portfolio in gold."7. "I can't see the point of crypto. It has this feel to me of being like catnip for techies. Why do people need 10 or 50 different cryptocurrencies? I don't get it. I don't think anybody needs to own it. It just seems to me that it could end up very much in tears. (Klarman suggested virtually all crypto could end up worthless.)Read more: After another brutal week for stocks and a big rate hike by the Fed, are we closing in on a market bottom? 3 experts weigh in on where all this leaves investors.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 22nd, 2022

Politicized Money & The Death Of Capitalism

Politicized Money & The Death Of Capitalism Authored by Matthew Piepenburg via GoldSwitzerland.com, As far as we are concerned, it is no great secret nor any great surprise that our faith in fiat money (in general) and the central bankers who have debased it (in particular) and precipitated the death of capitalism is anything but robust. To the contrary, our astonishment with the open mismanagement of global currencies as a whole, and the world reserve currency (i.e., the USD in particular), grows daily. In fact, to fully un-pack the long series of comical errors and the failed experiment of politicized central bankers seeking to solve a debt crisis ($300T and rising) with more debt, which is then monetized by mouse-click money, would take an entire book rather than single article to address. Hence our recent release of Gold Matters. But just because central bankers are desperate, political, fork-tongued, and directly responsible for pushing global currencies, markets and rigged banking systems toward (and eventually over) an historically unprecedented debt-cliff, this does not mean central bankers aren’t otherwise “clever.” That is, they’ll do “whatever it takes” in the near-term to postpone the fatal fall which they alone have pre-determined for the global financial system. As per usual, the central bank playbook is about artificial and centralized controls rather than natural supply and demand forces or honest, free-market price discovery. After all, who needs honest capitalism when we have heralded its death with rigged banking systems and mouse-click money? As far as I’m concerned, the death of genuine capitalism occurred long ago, with folks like Greenspan and Draghi standing over its grave. Everything Politicized –Including the USD The comical politicization of science which we saw in relation to the COVID hysteria (debacle), is no different than the inexcusable politicization (i.e., “weaponization”) of finance which we’ve recently seen in the post-Ukraine sanction debacle. It will thus come as no further surprise that central banks are anything but “independent” and are themselves nothing more than political petri dishes spreading increased “command-control” contamination into global markets as well as global politics and lives. The road from/between central banking to centralized politics is short and rotten, as confirmed by Mario Draghi’s short skip from heading the ECB to becoming Italy’s Prime Minister, or Janet Yellen’s equally small step from Fed Chair to U.S. Treasury Secretary. Here in France, it’s equally no coincidence that Christine Lagarde has moved from directing the IMF to presiding over the ECB. In short: Everything, including money, is politically-self-serving rather than economically free-market. Capitalism is dead. The folks in office to “save you” are mostly interested in saving their positions and guarding their power. No shocker there. Yellen: Bold or Just Demented? And as for Yellen, well…she is certainly a political beast and a fearless devotee of Keynesians gone wild, but she’s also a clever fox guarding the henhouse of that once trusted currency known as the USD and that once respected IOU known as the UST. Unfortunately, even foxes get trapped. Inviting Foreign Capital into a Burning Market As extreme over-valuation in risk assets (i.e., stocks, bonds and property) have become so openly undeniable, and as faith in an increasingly expanded (i.e., debased/discredited) USD has become openly weaker, the folks behind the USD (i.e., Janet Yellen) are trapped. They will now use all their political tricks and centralized powers to buy more time and postpone the debt, currency, social and political crisis which they alone spawned many years before COVID or Putin became the scapegoats de jour for their own monetary and fiscal exigence. Toward this rigged end, Yellen’s latest (and desperate) trick is now a deliberate attempt (via rate hikes) to force the USD index (DXY) up to 110 (or above) in a centralized attempt to bring more foreign (i.e., debased) money into the dangerous arms of an already grotesquely bloated, over-valued, volatile and risk-saturated US stock bubble. In short, in order to “avoid” a U.S. stock market crash (triggered by a Fed tapering into a debt-soaked/crippled market), this former Fed Chair’s solution is to coax more foreign money into a burning U.S. theater with fewer and fewer exit doors (i.e., liquidity). How’s that for clever? How’s that for desperate? Yellen is effectively politicizing the USD in order to force/cajole/entice foreign capital into crappy US securities (and out of safer global commodities) in order to provisionally save Uncle Sam’s market bubble from an inevitable implosion at the expense of other people’s money. When will central bankers realize that they can’t keep a market bubble alive forever to save their political rear-ends? And folks, compared to the dot.com disaster of 2000 or the sub-prime GFC of 2008, does this current market not look like a bit of a (Fed-engineered) bubble to you? Desperate Not Stupid? But again, politicized central bankers may be corrupt, dishonest, and desperate, but that doesn’t make them stupid. In a world or self-interest, Yellen, who likely smiled as the Yen tanked in recent weeks, knows that an artificially strong USD can still be perceived as the best horse in the global glue factory. That is, the Greenback can still attract foreign money into US markets with no better place left to hide, right? Well, not really. Yellen’s History of Getting It Wrong In fact, Yellen has a long history of getting the macros dead wrong in an effort to look momentarily and politically effective. Throughout 2017, for example, as the Fed was announcing QT for 2018, I was warning investors of a $1.8T bond wave and a late 2018 tantrum in risk assets, which hit the shores right on cue by Christmas. Yellen, however, said QT in 2018 would be like “watching paint dry.” By Christmas, however, the paint was as wet as the tears on investor portfolios suffering daily swings of 10%. In June of 2017, Yellen was also bold (blind?) enough to publicly declare that “we may never see another financial crisis in our lifetimes.” But by March of 2020, the markets lost greater than 30% and would have fallen twice as much had not the Fed printed more money in 1 year than in the past decade+ combined. How’s that for QE steroids? But as of 2022, Yellen is now running out of intellectual, monetary and policy bullets. If she thinks she can bribe foreign money into the S&P by manipulating the USD or DXY (temporarily bad for gold), she might be suffering from a disease which is apparently now common in DC, namely: open dementia. Back to (Debt) Reality Yellen, it seems, still thinks the old world and old ways can save Uncle Sam. But that world (see Japan below) is gone. The hard reality boils down to this: Uncle Sam is not trusted anymore, for so many reasons, including a debt to GDP ratio of 125%, a federal deficit at 10% of GDP and a new world in which foreign central banks are now buying only 5% of Uncle Sam’s unloved IOU’s (as opposed to 50% when Yellen was at the Fed in 2013). Thus, we can applaud Yellen’s bold statements and efforts to bring the DXY to 110+, but an increasingly tapped out and disenchanted world is tiring of bold statements followed by weakening economies, rising inflation and distrusted currencies. Expect a Pivot As I see it, the classic hawk-to-dove pivot seen in 2018 to 2019 will be repeated in 2022-23 as the current Fed makes minor (yet painful) rate hike and Treasury sales (i.e., QT) which will send debt-soaked markets south. This QT effort (and subsequently tanking market) will likely be followed abruptly by more QE and hence more inflationary tailwinds, which despite central bankers publicly claiming to “combat” inflation, is privately desired to inflate away portions of Uncle Sam’s debt while clobbering his nieces and nephews on Main Street with an invisible CPI tax. Of course, once the QE spigots re-open and DXY numbers fall, gold will continue its climb North. Meanwhile, More Warning Signs from a Stressed-Out Bond Market If the dementia exhibited by Yellen and the USD weren’t sad enough, we now turn to the most important indicator in the global markets: The crippled and toxic U.S. bond market. As we’ve been warning for years, Uncle Sam’s bar tab is too embarrassing to hide and hence his IOUs are too unloved to buy or trust, a distrust made all the worse by the recent freezing of Russian FX Reserves. And in case you haven’t noticed, there has been a bit of a media-ignored “problem” in the UST market. In May, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported over $500B in April Treasury “fails,” which is fancy-lad speak for counterparties failing to meat their security purchase and sale obligations. It is particularly alarming to see broad sell-offs in stocks at the same time that US Treasuries are not being bid at auction or successfully/contractually delivered to counterparties. Why these UST fails in the world’s largest and most liquid bond market were not front-page news at the WSJ or FT frankly astounds me. Who runs their editorial boards??? Turning Japanese In my separate reports, I reminded investors of the parallel fates of Japanese and US central bank policies and government bonds. To be clear, there are real differences between JGB’s and UST’s, just as there are clear differences between the Japanese and US markets and economies. Too much to unpack here. What is similar, however, is the corner in which US and Japanese central banks have placed their respectively broken bond and rate markets—markets which have immense implications for (and impact on) economic conditions, stock markets and inflation. Like the U.S., Japan is terrified of falling bonds, rising bond yields and hence peaking interest rates. To keep these yields repressed, Japan is forced to print Yen to buy its own JGB’s (sovereign debt), as bond prices move inversely to bond yields. This printing in Tokyo has devalued the Yen in ways similar policies out of DC will devalue the USD. The level of inflationary, currency-destroying money creation (QE) out of Japan is becoming, well: Insane. Japan may have to spend (i.e., print) as much as $100B/month to keep yields in control. The U.S. Fed faces a similar and inevitable corner, and hence a similar trajectory toward Yield Curve Control (YCC) and debased currency strength, as I’ve warned previously. But of even more immediate concern to Uncle Sam is not Japan’s thinning Yen, fattening bar tabs or a QE addiction akin to his own, but the fact that Japan, a key buyer of Uncle Sam’s IOU’s, is now too tapped out to cover two bar tabs at the same time. In short, Japan can’t afford Uncle Sam’s UST’s, despite Uncle Sam having previously relied on Japan to help keep $1.3T of his bonds (and bond market) afloat: The U.S. Bond Market: Stressed Out But a Yen-strapped Japan will soon be buying less U.S. Treasuries. The recent sell-off in long-dated U.S. Treasuries is evidence that Uncle Sam’s bond market is even less loved and hence in deeper trouble. Looking down the long and winding road ahead, this means Uncle Sam will need Uncle Fed to “fill the bond gap” by printing more money (hence the QT to QE pivot ahead) to buy his own debt, which just creates massive inflationary (and hence gold) tailwinds. Such signals from the US Treasury market, combined with my recent reports on the deteriorating investment grade (IG) bond market are extremely alarming. If we also add the distress signals coming from high-yield (HY) bonds to the pains now open and clear in the UST and IG markets, what we see is a collective U.S. bond market teetering toward a macro disaster whose current setting is the worst I’ve seen in my own career. HY bond issuance in the US has effectively slowed to a trickle in recent weeks. As a class, US bonds (UST, IG and HY) are falling, which, to repeat, means I see no realistic, longer-term option at the Fed other than more QE, more liquidity, more inflation and more currency debasement, despite even Yellen’s short-term efforts (above) to temporality send the DXY to 110+ this summer. Keep It Simple: History & Math In the end, of course, all bubbles pop, and the current “everything bubble” is an open insult to natural markets, real capitalism, real money and the necessary constructive destruction of mis-managed debt levels, all of which resulted from years of capitalism’s death and central bank drunk driving the likes of which history has never witnessed. Ultimately, even more QE or “liquidity” can’t save topping asset bubbles from both popping and mean-reverting, which mathematically looks like this: …as well as currency destruction, which historically looks like this: That’s why tracking bond markets, central banks, yield spreads and stock valuations can be helpful and interesting, but understanding history (and debt) is even more so: All rigged, debt-soaked, currency-debased systems fail. All of them. Every one of them. Timing market tipping points and speculating upon central bank policies has its imperfect role and place, but in the end, history (and gold) always gets the last say (and laugh) at politicized financial systems and a “capitalist” economy as openly broke (and broken) as the one empirically described above. Tyler Durden Sun, 06/19/2022 - 10:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 19th, 2022

When The Lies Come Home

When The Lies Come Home Authored by Douglas MacGregor via TheAmericanConservative.com, After lying for months, the media are preparing the public for Ukraine’s military collapse... Diogenes, one of the ancient world’s illustrious philosophers, believed that lies were the currency of politics, and those lies were the ones he sought to expose and debase. To make his point, Diogenes occasionally carried a lit lantern through the streets of Athens in the daylight. If asked why, Diogenes would say he was searching for an honest man. Finding an honest man today in Washington, D.C., is equally challenging. Diogenes would need a Xenon Searchlight in each hand. Still, there are brief moments of clarity inside the Washington establishment. Having lied prolifically for months to the American public about the origins and conduct of the war in Ukraine, the media are now preparing the American, British, and other Western publics for Ukraine’s military collapse. It is long overdue. The Western media did everything in its power to give the Ukrainian defense the appearance of far greater strength than it really possessed. Careful observers noted that the same video clips of Russian tanks under attack were shown repeatedly. Local counterattacks were reported as though they were operational maneuvers. Russian errors were exaggerated out of all proportion to their significance. Russian losses and the true extent of Ukraine’s own losses were distorted, fabricated, or simply ignored. But conditions on the battlefield changed little over time. Once Ukrainian forces immobilized themselves in static defensive positions inside urban areas and  the central Donbas, the Ukrainian position was hopeless. But this development was portrayed as failure by the Russians to gain “their objectives.” Ground-combat forces that immobilize soldiers in prepared defenses will be identified, targeted, and destroyed from a distance. When persistent overhead intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, whether manned or unmanned, are linked to precision guided-strike weapons or modern artillery systems informed by accurate targeting data, “holding ground” is fatal to any ground force. This is all the more true in Ukraine, because it was apparent from the first action that Moscow focused on the destruction of Ukrainian forces, not on the occupation of cities or the capture of Ukrainian territory west of the Dnieper River. The result has been the piecemeal annihilation of Ukrainian forces. Only the episodic infusion of U.S. and allied weapons kept Kiev’s battered legions in the field; legions that are now dying in great numbers thanks to Washington’s proxy war. Kiev’s war with Moscow is lost. Ukrainian forces are being bled white. Trained replacements do not exist in sufficient numbers to influence the battle, and the situation grows more desperate by the hour. No amount of U.S. and allied military aid or assistance short of direct military intervention by U.S. and NATO ground forces can change this harsh reality. The problem today is not ceding territory and population to Moscow in Eastern Ukraine that Moscow already controls. The future of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions along with the Donbas is decided. Moscow is also likely to secure Kharkov and Odessa, two cities that are historically Russian and Russian-speaking, as well as the territory that adjoins them. These operations will extend the conflict through the summer. The problem now is how to stop the fighting. Whether the fighting stops in the early fall will depend on two key factors. The first involves the leadership in Kiev. Will the Zelensky government consent to the Biden program for perpetual conflict with Russia? If the Biden administration has its way, Kiev will continue to operate as a base for the buildup of new forces poised to threaten Moscow. In practice, this means Kiev must commit national suicide by exposing the Ukrainian heartland west of the Dnieper River to massive, devastating strikes by Russia’s long-range missile and rocket forces. Of course, these developments are not inevitable. Berlin, Paris, Rome, Budapest, Bucharest, Sofia, Vilnius, Riga, Tallin, and, yes, even Warsaw, do not have to blindly follow Washington’s lead. Europeans, like most Americans, are already peering into the abyss of an all-encompassing economic downturn that Biden’s policies are creating at home. Unlike Americans who must cope with the consequences of Biden’s ill-conceived policies, European governments can opt out of Biden’s perpetual-war plan for Ukraine. The second factor involves Washington itself. Having poured more than $60 billion or a little more than $18 billion a month in direct or indirect transfers into a Ukrainian state that is now crumbling, the important question is, what happens to millions of Ukrainians in the rest of the country that did not flee? And where will the funds come from to rebuild Ukraine’s shattered society in a developing global economic emergency? When inflation costs the average American household an extra $460 per month to buy the same goods and services this year as they did last year, it is quite possible that Ukraine could sink quietly beneath the waves like the Titanic without evoking much concern in the American electorate. Experienced politicians know that the American span of attention to matters beyond America’s borders is so short that an admission of defeat in Ukraine would probably have little or no immediate consequences. However, the effects of repeated strategic failures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria are cumulative. In the 1980s, General Motors wanted to dictate the kind of automobiles Americans would buy, but American consumers had different ideas. That’s why G.M., which dominated the U.S. market for 77 years, lost its top spot to Toyota. Washington cannot dictate all outcomes, nor can Washington escape accountability for its profligate spending and having ruined American prosperity. In November, Americans will go to the polls. The election itself will do more than test the integrity of the American electoral process. The election is also likely to ensure that Biden is remembered for his intransigence; his refusal to change course, like Herbert Hoover in 1932. Democrats will recall that their predecessors in the Democratic Party effectively ran against Hoover for more than a half century. Republicans may end up running against Joe Biden for the next 50 years. Tyler Durden Sat, 06/18/2022 - 23:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 18th, 2022

Reimagining The World Economic Forum

Reimagining The World Economic Forum Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, The folks at The World Economic Forum, led by Klaus Schwab, never tire of “reimagining” everything. From food chains, digital identity, healthcare, even reimagining capitalism itself, everything seems to be on the table. Our betters at Davos have taken it upon themselves to make every aspect of our lives fair game for being reimagined, reconstituted, recalibrated, reordered and reset. Always along top-down technocratic lines they dream up at their exclusive, invite-only confabs. I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember asking nor empowering anybody else to reimagine my own life. I figure that’s my job. Shouldn’t we tell these guys not to worry about it – “We’ve got this” ? They seem undaunted and proceed to reorganize the world anyway. Maybe we should return the favour and reimagine The World Economic Forum and the self-appointed elites who populate its ranks… Reimagining Klaus Schwab Herr Schwab makes it hard not to imagine him as a SPECTRE-ish super villain straight out of a James Bond flick: But that’s not re-imagining him. To re-imagine means to change, transform, turn something that is into something it isn’t because you prefer it that way. So if we were to reimagine Klaus Schwab then perhaps we could start at the beginning, with Klaus Schwab’s father, Eugen Schwab who was a military industrial contractor to the Nazi regime during world war 2. According to investigative reporter Whitney Webb, the elder Schwab: “led the Nazi-supported German branch of a Swiss engineering firm into the war as a prominent military contractor. “ That company, Escher-Wyss, used slave labour in Nazi efforts to develop an atom bomb. Years later, when Schwab sat on the board of directors, he approved an initiative to help the Apartheid era government of South Africa in their pursuit of an a-bomb. In this era of open talk about reparations, perhaps reimagining Klaus Schwab could prescribe that the World Economic Forum pay reparations to descendants of Nazi-era slave labour (concentration camps) and for their part in reinforcing Apartheid in South Africa. Finally, given that Schwab was a protege of Henry Kissinger, who is considered by some to be a war criminal in his machinations toward multiple countries around the world; perhaps reimagining Klaus Schwab should also include some manner of Truth and Reconciliation process toward the countries and populations to which Schwab’s intellectual mentor inflicted so much pain and suffering. Reimagining Carbon Footprints of The Elite That the climate crisis requires a massive reordering of all our lives seems to have been already decided. When see some of the various pronouncements coming out of the myriad climate conclaves, including Davos, you’ll see they’re pushing for: Individual carbon footprint tracking Energy rationing (carbon taxes) Elimination of meat from our diets (“Contextualizing meat consumption”) Eventual elimination of private vehicle ownership Elimination of single-family homes (“upzoning” single-family areas) If one were to reimagine the World Economic Forum in terms of showing leadership and resolve for this ostensibly unprecedented crisis, then the logical and noble move would be to eliminate the most carbon intensive forms of travel and conspicuous consumption first. Private jets and super-yachts would have to go, immediately, and with no exceptions. Private jets could be melted down for scrap metal and reused, as per the UK Fires memo on Absolute Zero 2050. All super-yachts could be permanently moored in third-world nations and repurposed as low income housing. As of 2016 there were an estimated 10,000 super-yachts (over 28 meters) in the world, with 150 more being built every year. If a single super-yacht could be upzoned to house 50 low income families, we could provide permanent shelter for 500,000 families globally. Everybody needs a home, nobody needs a super-yacht. By re-contextualizing yacht and private jet ownership we can ameliorate the housing shortage in a carbon-neutral manner. All Davos meetings and super-summits could be held via remote video conference from this day forward, which would further reduce carbon footprints of holding such meetings. Finally, any Davos or WEF attendee who endorses or promotes action plans emanating from these proceedings should be legally bound to bringing their own consumption patterns in conformance to the recommendations, even before any such recommendations become policy. That would mean: getting rid of internal combustion vehicles, private jets, yachts, second, third, forth, fifth or sixth residences, and stop eating meat. Reimagining CBDCs and Social Credit Make no mistake Central Bank Digital Currencies will be the lubricant for which WEF inspired social credit programs are implemented. WEF talking points always include politically correct buzzwords like “inclusion”, “diversity” and “empowerment”, so what better way to reimagine CBDCs than to pivot the entire conversation toward a global, neutral digital currency that already exists and has no barriers to entry for anybody in the world? I am of course talking about Bitcoin, which exists now and already ticks all of the inclusion, diversity and empowerment boxes. Even better, it provides absolute inalienable rights to those who hold it, who could argue with that? Reimagining Constitutionally Enshrined Human Rights Speaking of human rights, the Davos crowd always pays them lip service in everything they do. The latest Schwab book “The Great Narrative” formally endorses the human rights as laid on in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights: one all-encompassing value framework has been ratified by the 193 Members States of the United Nations: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.135 Its 30 articles detailing an individual’s “basic rights and fundamental freedoms” and affirming their universal character as “inherent, inalienable and applicable to all human beings form the bedrock of a universal value system. This book embraces humanistic values that unequivocally prioritize freedom, human dignity and a quest for the common good.” So let’s look at what those universal human rights actually are. If we look at the UN declaration of Human Rights, particularly Articles 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. Article 13: Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Article 17: Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. Article 18: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance. Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Then in reimagining the WEF we could posit them enforcing these globally ratified rights on their own membership and exclude or banish heads of state from any country that violated these rights over the past few years of lockdowns: namely Canada, Australia, the United States, the UK, almost every Eurozone country and any other nation that locked down their population, forced vaccinations, deplatformed dissenters or espoused the redistribution of wealth (property) in any way. Reimagining “The Great Reset Fourth Industrial Revolution Grand(iose) Narrative” Reimagining other people’s lives is fun. Once you have everything all figured out for everybody else it can be hard to understand why anybody would resist it. We’ve clearly laid out an inclusive, restorative, empowering set of principles for the Party of Davos to live by, so why won’t they do it? They won’t do what we reimagine for them, naturally, so how come it feels like there’s a certain expectation that we’ll subserviently comply whenever they want to “re-contextualize” our basic rights? The reality is nobody has any moral authority to reimagine anybody’s life but their own. That’s actually the objective point of the entire UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thinking that one big super-brain or council of wise-persons can figure out the best way for over 8 billion independent minds and bodies to live is beyond imagination, it is pure delusion. The main downside is by believing it is so, they cause a lot of damage. This technocratic mindset is what writes the pages of history: a small cadre of self-appointed elites think they have it all figured out, and then whammo – inflation, wealth inequality, civil breakdown, economic ruin and tyranny. Trying to control the outcome for all effectively bakes-in the chaos. There is really only one thing anybody can control, which is their own reaction to whatever happens to them. That’s it. But it takes an act humility to realize that. For the Davos crowd, humility is a liability. Fortunately there is another narrative rising: the decentralized revolution narrative. It’s the freedom to act unilaterally regardless of what anybody else thinks, and doing so without violating anybody else’s rights to do the same. This gives rise to a noble alchemy, a positive feedback loop. It is the basis from which free markets and capitalism itself are born. It’s what launched the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance and the Industrial and Information revolutions. We can set up an agreed upon set of rules of what all 8 billion of us can’t do to each other. We have those kinds of rules already, handed down throughout the generations. But we can’t decide what anybody else should do without inducing them through a mutually agreed upon exchange of value. The World Economic Forum is a last gasp of industrial age, late stage globalism. They may exert undue influence now, but it may have already passed its zenith. Reimagine Yourself Given that the Davos crew won’t have themselves reimagined, especially by us plebes, what we can do is really the only thing practical within the confines of incarnate reality: we can reimagine ourselves. In my previous post about protecting oneself from “Davos Man”, I quoted Neville Goddard, one of the preeminent thinkers from the Golden Age of New Thought. His books “Awakened Imagination” and “The Power of Awareness” provide the antidote against those who would cast your life in their own mind’s image (the Tarcher reprint edition has them both) Here is the secret that those who would rule over others don’t want you to know: It’s that imagination is an actual super-power. One bestowed on all of us. Imagination is the very gateway of reality. “Man,” said Blake, “is either the ark of God or a phantom of the earth and of the water.” “Naturally he is only a natural organ subject to Sense.” “The Eternal Body of Man is The Imagination: that is God himself, The Divine Body. Jesus: we are his Members.” I know of no greater and truer definition of the Imagination than that of Blake. By imagination we have the power to be anything we desire to be. Through imagination we disarm and transform the violence of the world. Our most intimate as well as our most casual relationships become imaginative as we awaken to “the mystery hid from the ages,” that Christ in us is our imagination. We then realize that only as we live by imagination can we truly be said to live at all It’s curious that Schwab and company frequently use that word “re-imagine“. Once you understand the true power of imagination, as described by Goddard, that it encapsulates the underlying creative power of the universe, then the act of re-imagining another’s life is a type of predation. It is vampirism, both economic and spiritual. At scale it manifests as mass formation psychosis. The Party at Davos (more like a coven, perhaps) would have you believe that power is  theirs, they are literally Priests of the Temple  in the church of Late Stage Globalism. But the reality is that everybody has this superpower. If you use yours, you ordain your own destiny. If enough people take control of their own psychic and mental temple, the one within, then the rulers of the darkness of this world lose their power. Without actively taking charge of your own thoughts and goals, your entire life will be something that just happens to you. When you are pursuing your own ideals and controlling your own thoughts you are expressing the universal life force in your own unique way. That doesn’t mean you are able to “command reality”, which is actually what the Davos crowd is attempting. But what goals and aspirations you do attain will be in spite of what the Klaus Schwab’s, the Party of Davos and the World Economic Forum think you should do, instead of what they permit you to do. If enough people do this: take the command of their own destinies, become as Sovereign Individuals, live in pursuit of their own goals and aspirations, then it won’t really matter what external groups from a waning era think. *  *  * You can learn more about the overall thesis behind the coming Monetary Regime Change by joining the Bombthrower mailing list.  Wherever you are on the path to being a Sovereign Individual, Bombthrower can help you navigate the terrain. (Gettr, Twitter, Telegram) Tyler Durden Sat, 06/18/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 18th, 2022

The Big Business of Being a Peloton Instructor

Peloton instructors are building empires—and making money During halftime at a Brooklyn Nets game in December, a cluster of 20- and 30-something women made a beeline for the court. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen were there, sitting in prime seats, but the couple wasn’t their target. These women were hoping to take a picture with Ally Love, the team’s in-arena host. Love, one of Peloton’s most popular instructors, flashed a smile at the group and made a gesture suggesting they could huddle in the stands as she introduced a breakdancing team. They did so dutifully. Even after the game resumed, they kept hovering around her. Love, a former dancer, was already working with both the Nets and Adidas when she joined Peloton as a cycling instructor in 2016, but since then, her opportunities have grown significantly. She has partnered with Nissan, NARS, and massage-device maker Therabody. She’s also built her own brand, and fans can purchase $25 socks or $78 sweatpants with the Love Squad logo on her website. She recently spent time in London hosting an upcoming Netflix dance competition. “I’ve opted into the slash generation,” she says, referring to the phenomenon of millennials with multiple income streams. “I can get a little impatient if I’m doing the exact same thing every day.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Much ink has been spilled about the parasocial relationships Peloton devotees form with their instructors. Each one cultivates a certain style, whether it’s motivational mama or drill sergeant, and members gravitate to the ones whose personalities appeal to them, the ones they think could be their friends. “They’re talking to us every day, right?” says Jared Watson, a marketing professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. “They might not hear us talk back. But it feels like we’re engaging in a relationship with them.” According to interviews with five of Peloton’s top instructors, that relationship is lucrative. Victor Llorente for TIMERobin Arzón, Peloton’s VP of Fitness Programming These instructors may film eight Peloton classes a week and spend hours planning workouts, creating playlists, and writing scripts for future sessions. But these days, that’s just the baseline. Having built considerable followings on social media, they’ve also become influencers, able to drive fans who admire their lifestyle to buy the items they’re hawking. They’re so sought-after, in fact, that some now have their own agents and earn a sizable portion of their income through endorsement deals and partnerships, appearing in traditional advertising and posting sponsored content. And they hold sway over a particularly affluent audience. Peloton charges nearly $2,000 for its newest bike—and that’s before the cost of cycling shoes, weights, and a monthly subscription for classes. The Peloton bike (or lightly fictionalized versions of it) has featured prominently on shows like Emily in Paris and Curb Your Enthusiasm as a signal of wealth and privilege. Instructors benefit from that cultural cachet. Chief content officer Jennifer Cotter, who cut her teeth managing talent at HSN (formerly known as the Home Shopping Network), was brought in three years ago to help navigate the instructors’ growing fame. “My original intent was really to reduce the friction instructors were starting to feel here,” she says, explaining that they were waiting a long time to hear back about brand partnership opportunities. The instructors’ stars have continued to rise even as Peloton’s has begun to lose some of its sheen. The company was a pandemic juggernaut, growing its revenue from $915 million in 2019 to $4 billion in 2021. But a return to gyms, product recalls, and a series of PR disasters—including episodes of And Just Like That … and Billions in which characters suffer heart attacks after riding the bike—have taken a toll. In February, Peloton announced its CEO John Foley was stepping down, and it was cutting 2,800 jobs. (No instructors were laid off.) The quarterly report released in May showed that revenue tumbled 24% compared to last year, and Peloton lost $757 million last quarter. Still, the relationship between the company and its marquee talent remains symbiotic: certain instructors might be big enough to make it on their own as influencers if they were to leave, but they would lose an unparalleled platform in terms of reach—7 million members—and a key connection point with their fans. Read More: America’s Going to the Gym Again. That’s Bad News for Peloton, But Great News for Mental Health Ask Love or her Peloton peers if changes at the company have affected their plans, and they’ll say they’re concentrating on inspiring their acolytes to climb steep hills and lift heavy weights. But as a look at their expanding portfolios makes clear, they are also capitalizing on their moment in the spotlight to establish their own mini-empires. In March 2020, Peloton shut down its New York City studio, and in April, head instructor Robin Arzón led a cycling class from her apartment. Everything about this first “live from home” session was MacGyvered: Arzón fidgeted with the music on her laptop, and Janet Jackson’s “Nasty” occasionally drowned out her aphorisms about building character in trying times. She shouted out a few usernames. “ElaineNeedsWine,” she read, laughing. “I have a feeling you might not be alone, Elaine.” Twenty-five thousand people tuned in, in no small part to get a peek at Arzón’s apartment. In recent years, Arzón, 40, has welcomed riders not only into her home but into her life. She’s shared her journey with IVF, pregnancy, and motherhood. “The frequency with which people come up to me crying, I’m still figuring out how to manage that. It’s a new, intense thing that happens every single day,” she says. “A woman announced her pregnancy to me in the bathroom of an airport in Puerto Rico. And it was because she had worked through her grief and her joy with me [on the bike]. More common than not, that’s the reaction: the physical shaking, quivering.” The instructors have worked with Peloton to figure out how to make what riders love about them marketable. Arzón, for instance, would describe herself as Type A—she loves a vision board and taught an 11-episode MasterClass course on how to manifest success. (A MasterClass spokesperson declined to comment on instructor compensation, but a 2017 Hollywood Reporter article said they are paid at least $100,000.) An experience being held hostage at gunpoint inspired Arzón to take up running and eventually pivot from a career as a corporate litigator to one in wellness. She’s now Peloton’s vice president of fitness programming. In recent years, she’s evolved her brand to center more on motherhood: She’s developed prenatal and postpartum workouts; she dots her Instagram with images of her daughter Athena, with whom she posed on the cover of Parents Latina magazine; her children’s book Strong Mama recently became a best seller; and she struck a deal with Pottery Barn Kids. Victor Llorente for TIMEAlly Love, Peloton Instructor But instructors must maintain a careful balance when showcasing their personal lives. Love, for instance, has tried to cultivate intimacy even as she draws more eyeballs to her accounts. Vogue, People, and “Page Six” breathlessly covered her five-day wedding in Mexico, which included 200 drones taking to the sky to spell Love You, but only her followers could view more personal photos from the extravaganza in her Instagram Stories. She cites her husband’s privacy concerns for this decision: “He’s my No. 1 supporter, but he didn’t sign up to be a Peloton instructor, so it’s about making sure that I protect the people I love and respect their boundaries while servicing my community so they know they have access.” Of course, gating the wedding content only drove more people to follow her account. Courtesy of Mike Lawrence The newer instructors often look to the veterans with proven social media savvy. Cotter cites a conversation between Love and fellow instructor and former makeup artist Tunde Oyeneyin as an example of how Peloton talent curate their social feeds to score endorsements. “Ally actually gave her advice that maybe you should do makeup on social media,” says Cotter. “Tunde got a Revlon deal out of that.” When Cody Rigsby, now 35, first joined Peloton, he thought perhaps imitating Arzón would be the best route to success. “It wasn’t authentic to me,” he says. “Robin is amazing at being Robin. I had to figure out who Cody was.” Rigsby, who sports a Mickey Mouse tattoo on his bicep and worships Britney Spears, studied his sessions and found riders responded to his pop culture references and self-deprecation. They loved when he opined on the texture of Cheetos. “I became sort of the opposite of an inspirational fitness trainer,” he says. Victor Llorente for TIMECody Rigsby, Peloton Instructor Rigsby now boasts 1.2 million Instagram followers, the most of any Peloton instructor. In 2021, he competed on Dancing With the Stars and made it to the finale with his partner Cheryl Burke. (A Dancing With the Stars representative said the show does not comment on contestants’ salaries, but Variety reported in 2019 that they make $125,000 during the initial weeks and earn bonuses as they progress, maxing out at $295,000.) Peloton set up a makeshift studio in its Pasadena showroom while Rigsby was in Los Angeles, and he would film classes between rehearsals and performances. His recent deals include Gatorade, Chobani, Capital One, Invisalign, Adidas, Pure Leaf, Whole Foods, Primal Kitchen, Therabody, and Degree. Eric McCandless—ABC/Getty Images Emma Lovewell, too, has seen her offers expand. She had sent out a newsletter with recipes, gift guides, and travel tips to her riders at Peloton competitor SoulCycle. But it was only after she switched to Peloton that she was able to build the business. “At SoulCycle, I was reaching 40 to 50 people a class—hundreds of people, tops, all in New York City,” says Lovewell, 34. “Peloton is just massive.” She’s also designed jeans for the brand Sene, modeled for Under Armour, and developed recipes with plant-based food company Kite Hill. Victor Llorente for TIMEEmma Lovewell, Peloton Instructor A 2020 study on the influencer market found that the most valuable level of social media influencer to corporations is the “macro-influencer” who has between 100,000 and 1 million Instagram followers. “It’s a sweet spot, because they are not super expensive yet, but they still have a sizable follower base and they’re more authentic and get more engagement,” says co-author Colin Campbell, a marketing professor at the University of San Diego’s Knauss School of Business. “Once they get bigger, they tend to become more diva-like in terms of their demands and pay.” Arturo Holmes—Getty Images Alex Toussaint, who has 571,000 Instagram followers, falls squarely into that macro-influencer category. He has deals with Puma and Hyperice, another massage-device company, and wants to model his career on athletes who tend to be selective about where they lend their names, like LeBron James and Steph Curry (who takes Toussaint’s classes). When Toussaint, 29, became a Puma global ambassador last year, he partnered with the athletics brand to invest in his foundation, Do Better, which uplifts marginalized communities. “I’ve never chased a dollar. I’ve always chased purpose,” says Toussaint. “My grandmother always told me purpose is the most powerful, and the money will follow.” Victor Llorente for TIMEAlex Toussaint, Peloton Instructor Still, more followers translate to more money. “It wouldn’t be surprising to me if instructors like Cody and Robin are getting close to $20,000 per post on average,” says Watson of NYU. Asked how much she makes from outside endorsements, Arzón is coy. “It’s more than my income at Peloton,” she says. “Let’s just say it’s a few salaries.”   Paras Griffin—Getty Images When Barry McCarthy took over as CEO in February, instructors’ outside deals—and time away from the studio—came under scrutiny. “He was like, ‘Tell me again why we let them do this?’” says Cotter. “Not everyone at the organization always understands. Why not just tell them the equivalent of ‘Shut up and dribble’? The answer is that these are professional athletes that deserve to go far in life, and Peloton is absolutely building a business off their brilliance. So why not make them feel super valued?” Read More: How ‘Subscribe to Me’ Became the Future of Work These days Peloton instructors can run potential deals by a committee and get a quick answer. Cotter even encourages new instructors to look into outside partnerships after about a year and a half. Peloton prohibits its instructors from making commercials with competitors, endorsing alcohol brands, or appearing in adult films, but almost anything else is fair game. “Did people watch Dancing With the Stars and go buy a Peloton? We’re not sure that happened, but we don’t care,” says Cotter of Rigsby’s stint on the show. “It exposed him to the masses, and that’s great value for him, which is great value for us. There’s not a direct response in our business, but it does make people at Peloton feel happy and heard and respected.” Victor Llorente for TIME The company also doesn’t dictate what instructors say on the bike. During the racial justice protests in 2020, Toussaint made an impassioned speech in a class. “For some of y’all, I’m the one person from the African-American community in your household,” he said. He shared his own stories of getting pulled over by the police on social media. “I never had to ask approval for anything,” says Toussaint. “The reason you get the job is that level of trust and authenticity.” Lovewell has similarly spoken out about anti-Asian hate during rides. The only time Cotter really pushes back against instructors is when they want to take on too much, as she worries they might dilute the trust they have built with their followers if they endorse every product. Rigsby admits his initial inclination was to sign more deals: “In retrospect, I’m glad they guided me away from certain partnerships that weren’t worth my time.” Very few instructors have left the Peloton family, in part because they’re afforded so much leeway. But this freedom isn’t the only reason they stay. A Bloomberg report from January 2021 found that senior instructors made $500,000-plus in compensation. A recent earnings report nodded to their value, noting that Peloton’s declining stock price may hamper its ability to hire and retain top-tier fitness talent who are offered shares in the company. “If they haven’t left the Peloton ecosystem, it’s almost certainly because Peloton has signed them to exclusive contracts where they’re paying them several million dollars,” Watson says. (A Peloton spokesperson said the company does not comment on employee compensation.) Instructors also know that just as Peloton’s future is uncertain, physically, they can’t do this job forever. They’re incentivized to squeeze what they can out of the gig. Toussaint, who went to military school and worked his way up from mopping floors at a cycling studio to being a fitness pro to the stars, compares the life of an instructor to that of a professional athlete. “We train. We study the tape. We produce at a high level every single day,” he says. But that intensity can take a toll. Rigsby acknowledges that his body simply cannot sustain riding the bike every day for years on end. “I grew up with a single mother who was on welfare and food stamps. We went through multiple evictions. So my relationship with money is interesting,” he says. “I recognize that notoriety and fame only lasts for so long, so I do want to capitalize on it in an authentic way and set myself up for success in the future.” Victor Llorente for TIMEClockwise from top left: Peloton instructors Cody Rigsby, Alex Toussaint, Ally Love, Robin Arzón, and Emma Lovewell in May in New York City Peloton reopened in-person classes to a small number of members on June 10, in a new Manhattan studio specifically designed to showcase its stars, with a larger floor plan and more cameras. The studio will fully reopen later this summer, and Peloton riders are already taking to social media to plan “Pelogrimages” to New York to work out with their favorite instructors. Cotter envisions a future in which instructors can play less demanding roles. “I’ve talked about it with the instructors and do want to make them feel their sense of mortality is not as imminent as they think it is. I’ve already told them, ‘You can do fewer classes. Don’t worry about it. You’re going to be here until you’re 90,’” she says. “But yes, we understand that’s why they pursue these things.” She sounds like a proud mother as she discusses the talent: she beams when she recalls Toussaint winning MVP at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and raves about Arzón’s books. Their successes are her successes—well, Peloton’s—even as it becomes increasingly apparent that one day they may leave the nest. “I hope they never quit,” she says. “Not on my watch.” With reporting by Nik Popli and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 16th, 2022

An Eleven Madison Park worker earning $15 an hour at the $335-a-person restaurant says he was yelled at for scooping ice "too loudly" in the silent kitchen — and threw away loads of food despite the swanky restaurant"s green reputation

A former cook at New York's Eleven Madison Park described copious amounts of food waste breaking with the upscale establishment's green brand. The meal follows recipes by chef Daniel Humm.Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Blancpain New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park went vegan last year, but that choice has led to chaos, Insider's Kate Taylor reported Tuesday. A junior prep cook who quit the restaurant in November says he was paid $15 an hour. The vegan tasting menu costs $335 a person. The cook recounted a massive food waste problem and being yelled at for scooping ice "too loudly." A former employee at acclaimed New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park says he was once chastised for scooping ice "too loudly" in the establishment's notoriously quiet kitchen and that the eatery had a massive food waste problem despite its outward efforts to be environmentally conscious.From May until November, Chandler Yerves was a commis chef, or junior prep cook, at the upscale eatery, which was once crowned the best restaurant in the world. He recounted his exhausting tenure at the restaurant to Insider's Kate Taylor in a story published Tuesday."It was definitely a huge toll on my mental health," Yerves said. "It was definitely the most egotistical restaurant I've ever been in in my life."World-renowned chef and Eleven Madison Park owner Daniel Humm announced last May that the New York restaurant would no longer serve meat and fish, becoming just the second restaurant with three Michelin stars to serve almost entirely plant-based food.Yerves recounted a time he was sent out with a ruler onto the streets of New York and told not to return until he had enough 5-inch red peppers for the dish for the evening: fried peppers wrapped in Swiss chard. Two hours later, after visiting three or four Whole Foods stores, Yerves returned with the peppers, only to have half of them thrown away, he says, as part of what a former colleague called the restaurant's "farm to trash" pipeline.Yerves said he was paid $15 an hour during his Eleven Madison Park tenure. Patrons ordering the vegan tasting menu could expect to pay $335 per person.Yerves and another former worker said most of the vegetables used at the restaurant came from delivery services rather than farms or local markets and that staff regularly chucked produce that had even a slight imperfection, wasn't the right size, or went unused. Read the full Insider story here.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Travel & Leisure ETFs Turning Around: Will It Last?

As the pandemic is slowly turning into an endemic, travel stocks are finding reasons to fly higher. As the pandemic is slowly turning into an endemic, economic-reopening-friendly stocks, like leisure stocks, are finding reasons to fly higher. Pent-up demand is evident in the surge of new business openings in nightlife, beauty, and travel and hotels. Delayed trips and increased consumer savings have resulted in the wellbeing of the travel industry.There has been a steady rise in room prices, which hotel chain executives say will not come down soon, per an article published on CNBC. A recent Biden administration’s decision to repeal COVID-19 testing for inbound international air travelers has also aided the travel and leisure industry.The CNBC article indicated that Hyatt president and CEO Mark Hoplamazian said on “Squawk on the Street” on Tuesday that foreign travelers to the United States tend to spend a lot more than domestic travelers. Hence, hotel industry will get a huge benefit from no pre-departure COVID-19 testing now onward as it will boost international inbound travel.Agreed. There is a wall of worry as inflation is running high and has the ability to slow down economic growth (or even cause a recession). But such warnings are failing to cool down the hotel industry’s demand.Marriott CEO Tony Capuano said that over Memorial Day weekend the company’s revenue per available room was up about 25% in 2022 compared to 2019. Marriott’s luxury portfolio recorded a nearly 30% increase in rates in the first quarter of 2022 compared to 2019. The CEO of IHG Hotels & Resorts also expects travel and hotel demand to continue growing for the rest of the year.Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta is predicting that the hotel chain will “have the biggest summer we’ve ever seen in our 103-year history this summer,” per the CNBC article. Nassetta said that two things are keeping the hotel industry’s demand in fine fettle: the leisure consumers’ more than $2.5 trillion in additional savings, and strong corporate balance sheets. Plus, lack of capacity expansion is causing less supplies in the hotel industry and driving prices.STR and Tourism Economics have upgraded the recovery timeline for U.S. hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR). On a nominal basis, Occupancy for 2022 is expected to come in under the pre-pandemic comparable, while ADR and RevPAR are forecast at $14 and $6 higher than 2019, respectively. When adjusted for inflation, full recovery of ADR and RevPAR are not expected until 2024.The foodservice industry is forecast to touch $898 billion in sales in 2022, returning to the pre-COVID pandemic trajectory, the National Restaurant Association said. Pent-up demand for restaurant dining has also increased. Not only hotels and restaurants, airlines are also charging higher.Despite high inflation, consumers seem willing to spend more for airline tickets after keeping their travel plans on hold for about two years. The summer season has also been propelling them to indulge on such activities. Several companies are also asking employees to return, which in turn, may push up business travel to some extent (read: Airlines ETF Stuck Between Revenue & Cost Increases).Any Wall of Worry?There has been a surge in COVID-19 infections. U.K. COVID-19 cases rose for the first time in two months in the week to Jun 2, according to new estimates from the Office of National Statistics. The same is happening in countries like China and India. China's capital Beijing is experiencing an "explosive" COVID-19 outbreak connected to bars, a government spokesman said on Saturday, as the commercial hub, Shanghai, conducted mass testing to contain a jump in cases tied to a hair salon, as quoted on Reuters.Even if we have handled the latest strain Omicron, further mutations of the virus may continue to throw the global market occasionally in a wavering zone. The central banks will not likely be of much support anymore and massive fiscal support is also unlikely. All these factors may weigh on the travel sector all over again.Reopening-Friendly ETFs in FocusAgainst this backdrop, below we highlight a few travel and leisure ETFs that beat the S&P 500 (down 1%) past month (as of Jun 10, 2022).AdvisorShares Hotel ETF BEDZ – Up 1% Past MonthAdvisorShares Restaurant ETF EATZ – Up 0.7%ALPS Global Travel Beneficiaries ETF JRNY – down 0.5%   Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report AdvisorShares Restaurant ETF (EATZ): ETF Research Reports AdvisorShares Hotel ETF (BEDZ): ETF Research Reports ALPS Global Travel Beneficiaries ETF (JRNY): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 15th, 2022

Another US Food Processing Plant Erupts In Flames

Another US Food Processing Plant Erupts In Flames Another food processing plant went up in flames. According to local news Stevens Point Journal, a fire ripped through a pizza-making plant in Wisconsin on Monday.  More than 70 firefighters from multiple fire departments battled a massive fire at Festive Foods in eastern Portage County that began around 0900 local time. The American Red Cross arrived on the scene shortly after to provide food and water to firefighters. They snapped two pictures of the blaze, showing flames erupting from the facility's roof and a column of thick dark smoke pouring into the air.  Waupaca manufacturing fire: Red Cross disaster volunteers are canteening for more than 70 firefighters & first responders on the scene of a large manufacturer fire on County Highway D. Additional details here as they're available. pic.twitter.com/HdTT1vvLK1 — American Red Cross of Wisconsin (@RedCrossWIS) June 13, 2022 Firefighters were able to get the blaze under control in the early evening, and damage to the food processing plant has yet to be fully assessed. However, Festive Foods' Facebook page indicates the plant is "temporarily closed."  "Today festive foods experienced a heartbreaking event. As many of you have seen in the news we have had a terrible fire run through our plant," a post on Festive Foods' Facebook read.  Festive Foods manufactures frozen pizzas for supermarkets in a 120,000 sq. feet facility and considers itself a "leading co-packer of USDA-certified frozen-topped pizza, sandwiches, dough products, and stuffed appetizers." The company sells its products to supermarkets nationwide.  Walmart is a seller of at least one of the company's brands.  While the fire seems insignificant, it's part of a much larger issue of a spate of "accidental fires," one by one, taking out America's food supply chain over the past year (source of the list via The Gateway Pundit):  1/11/21 A fire that destroyed 75,000-square-foot processing plant in Fayetteville 4/30/21 A fire ignited inside the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Monmouth, IL 7/25/21 Three-alarm fire at Kellogg plant in Memphis, 170 emergency personnel responded to the call 7/30/21 Firefighters on Friday battled a large fire at Tyson's River Valley Ingredients plant in Hanceville, Alabama 8/23/21 Fire crews were called to the Patak Meat Production company on Ewing Road in Austell 9/13/21 A fire at the JBS beef plant in Grand Island, Neb., on Sunday night forced a halt to slaughter and fabrication lines  10/13/21 A five-alarm fire ripped through the Darigold butter production plant in Caldwell, ID 11/15/21 A woman is in custody following a fire at the Garrard County Food Pantry 11/29/21 A fire broke out around 5:30 p.m. at the Maid-Rite Steak Company meat processing plant 12/13/21 West Side food processing plant in San Antonio left with smoke damage after a fire 1/7/22 Damage to a poultry processing plant on Hamilton's Mountain following an overnight fire 1/13/22 Firefighters worked for 12 hours to put a fire out at the Cargill-Nutrena plant in Lecompte, LA 1/31/22 a fertilizer plant with 600 tons of ammonium nitrate inside caught on fire on Cherry Street in Winston-Salem 2/3/22 A massive fire swept through Wisconsin River Meats in Mauston 2/3/22 At least 130 cows were killed in a fire at Percy Farm in Stowe 2/15/22 Bonanza Meat Company goes up in flames in El Paso, Texas 2/15/22 Nearly a week after the fire destroyed most of the Shearer's Foods plant in Hermiston 2/16/22 A fire had broken at US largest soybean processing and biodiesel plant in Claypool, Indiana 2/18/22 An early morning fire tore through the milk parlor at Bess View Farm 2/19/22 Three people were injured, and one was hospitalized, after an ammonia leak at Lincoln Premium Poultry in Fremont 2/22/22 The Shearer's Foods plant in Hermiston caught fire after a propane boiler exploded 2/28/22 A smoldering pile of sulfur quickly became a raging chemical fire at Nutrien Ag Solutions 2/28/22 A man was hurt after a fire broke out at the Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery 3/4/22 294,800 chickens destroyed at farm in Stoddard, Missouri 3/4/22 644,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, Maryland 3/8/22 243,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in New Castle, Delaware 3/10/22 663,400 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, MD 3/10/22 915,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Taylor, IA 3/14/22 The blaze at 244 Meadow Drive was discovered shortly after 5 p.m. by farm owner Wayne Hoover 3/14/22 2,750,700 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Jefferson, Wisconsin 3/16/22 A fire at a Walmart warehouse distribution center has cast a large plume of smoke visible throughout Indianapolis. 3/16/22 Nestle Food Plant extensively damaged in fire and new production destroyed Jonesboro, Arkansas 3/17/22 5,347,500 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Buena Vista, Iowa 3/17/22 147,600 chickens destroyed at farm in Kent, Delaware 3/18/22 315,400 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Cecil, Maryland 3/22/22 172,000 Turkeys destroyed on farms in South Dakota 3/22/22 570,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Butler, Nebraska 3/24/22 Fire fighters from numerous towns are battling a major fire at the McCrum potato processing facility in Belfast. 3/24/22 418,500 chickens destroyed at farm in Butler, Nebraska 3/25/22 250,300 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Franklin, Iowa 3/26/22 311,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 3/27/22 126,300 Turkeys destroyed in South Dakota 3/28/22 1,460,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Guthrie, Iowa 3/29/22 A massive fire burned 40,000 pounds of food meant to feed people in a food desert near Maricopa 3/31/22 A structure fire caused significant damage to a large portion of key fresh onion packing facilities in south Texas 3/31/22 76,400 Turkeys destroyed in Osceola, Iowa 3/31/22 5,011,700 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Osceola, Iowa 4/6/22 281,600 chickens destroyed at farm in Wayne, North Carolina 4/9/22 76,400 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/9/22 208,900 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/12/22 89,700 chickens destroyed at farm in Wayne, North Carolina 4/12/22 1,746,900 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Dixon, Nebraska 4/12/22 259,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Minnesota 4/13/22 fire destroys East Conway Beef & Pork Meat Market in Conway, New Hampshire 4/13/22 Plane crashes into Gem State Processing, Idaho potato and food processing plant 4/13/22 77,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/14/22 Taylor Farms Food Processing plant burns down Salinas, California. 4/14/22 99,600 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/15/22 1,380,500 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Lancaster, Minnesota 4/19/22 Azure Standard nation's premier independent distributor of organic and healthy food, was destroyed by fire in Dufur, Oregon 4/19/22 339,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/19/22 58,000 chickens destroyed at farm in Montrose, Color 4/20/22 2,000,000 chickens destroyed at egg farm in Minnesota 4/21/22 A small plane crashed in the lot of a General Mills plant in Georgia 4/22/22 197,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/23/22 200,000 Turkeys destroyed in Minnesota 4/25/22 1,501,200 chickens destroyed at egg farm Cache, Utah 4/26/22 307,400 chickens destroyed at farm Lancaster Pennsylvania 4/27/22 2,118,000 chickens destroyed at farm Knox, Nebraska 4/28/22 Egg-laying facility in Iowa kills 5.3 million chickens, fires 200-plus workers 4/28/22 Allen Harim Foods processing plant killed nearly 2M chickens in Delaware 4/2822 110,700 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 4/29/22 1,366,200 chickens destroyed at farm Weld Colorado 4/30/22 13,800 chickens destroyed at farm Sequoia Oklahoma 5/3/22 58,000 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 5/3/22 118,900 Turkeys destroyed Beadle S Dakota 5/3/22 114,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/3/22 118,900 Turkeys destroyed Lyon Minnesota 5/7/22 20,100 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 5/10/22 72,300 chickens destroyed at farm Lancaster Pennsylvania 5/10/22 61,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/10/22 35,100 Turkeys destroyed Muskegon, Michigan 5/13/22 10,500 Turkeys destroyed Barron Wisconsin 5/14/22 83,400 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/17/22 79,00 chickens destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/18/22 7,200 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/19/22 Train carrying limestone derailed Jensen Beach FL 5/21/22 57,000 Turkeys destroyed on farm in Dakota Minnesota 5/23/22 4,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 5/29/22 A Saturday night fire destroyed a poultry building at Forsman Farms 5/31/22 3,000,000 chickens destroyed by fire at Forsman facility in Stockholm Township, Minnesota 6/2/22 30,000 ducks destroyed at Duck farm Berks Pennsylvania 6/7/22 A fire occurred Tuesday evening at the JBS meat packing plant in Green Bay. 6/8/22 Firefighters from Tangipahoa Fire District 1 respond to a fire at the Purina Feed Mill in Arcola 6/9/22 Irrigation water was canceled in California (the #1 producer of food in the US) and storage water flushed directly out to the delta. 6/12/22 Largest Pork Company in the US Shuts Down California Plant Due to High Costs 6/13/22 Fire Breaks Out at a Food Processing Plant West of Waupaca County in Wisconsin Tyler Durden Tue, 06/14/2022 - 23:45.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

What Lies Ahead of Gold ETFs: Pain or Gain?

Gold investing is in a critical juncture right now. The year 2021 was downbeat for precious metals. Gold closed out 2021 with a loss of 3.6%, marking its biggest annual decline since 2015. Although precious metals are known as inflation-heading assets, gold failed to meet investors’ expectations last year despite a sky-high inflation rate. The reopening trade, fast economic growth, solid pent-up demand, a strong stock market, a rising greenback and chances of a hawkish Federal Reserve weighed on gold prices.Although 2022 has been extremely downbeat for stocks, gold has not posted a blockbuster performance either. The biggest gold bullion ETF SPDR Gold Shares GLD is off 0.4% this year compared with a 20.6% decline in the S&P 500. Still, the yellow metal went a long way in protecting investors’ assets. Gold ETF net outflows totaled 53 tons in May, per kitco.com.Investors now will be curious to know what lies in store for gold ETF investing for the rest of 2022. Let’s figure out. Let’s figure out the pros and cons of gold investing.NegativesRising Rates & Strong GreenbackGold normally underperforms in a rising rate environment as it is a non-interest-bearing asset. With the Fed likely to turn more hawkish in 2022 and raise rates, many fear that a gold rally may not be possible.Since rates are rising this year in the United States, the U.S. dollar has been gaining strength. The U.S. dollar jumped to the strongest since April 2020 on Fed rate hike bets. This is a negative for gold as the metal is priced in the U.S. dollar. Hence, the metal shares an inverse relation with the greenback.But some investors are hopeful of the fact that real yield is still low. Hence, gold might stay afloat on this ground as long as inflation is hot due to global supply chain disruptions. We believe inflation will run high in the first half of 2022.ECB to Hike RatesMeanwhile, the ECB is also likely to end its QE program at the start of July. The ECB "intends" to hike rates by 25 bps in July but they may also enact a 50-bp rate hike in September. The new ECB projections for annual inflation are 6.8% for 2022, and down to 3.5% for 2023 and 2.1% in 2024 — higher than in the March projections. Several emerging economies are also hiking rates. Since gold is a non-interest-bearing asset, such policy tightening spree of various central banks go against gold investing.PositivesRenewed Upsurge in Virus CasesInfections caused by new coronavirus strains had a considerable adverse impact on Wall Street in the previous waves. Even if we have handled the latest strain Omicron, further mutations of the virus may continue to throw the global market in a wavering zone occasionally. The central banks will not likely be of much support anymore and a massive fiscal support is also unlikely. All these factors can brighten up the safe-haven trait of gold.U.K. Covid-19 cases rose for the first time in two months in the week ended Jun 2, according to new estimates from the Office of National Statistics. The same is happening in countries like China and India. China's capital Beijing is experiencing an "explosive" COVID-19 outbreak connected to bars, a government spokesman said on Saturday, as the commercial hub, Shanghai, conducted mass testing to contain a jump in cases tied to a hair salon, as quoted on Reuters.Gold Price ProjectionsIn their 2022 gold price forecast, analysts at the U.K.-based precious metals research firm Metal Focus said they expect gold prices to average the year around $1,830 an ounce, which would be a record-high average, as quoted on kitco.com. The current price is $1,828 an ounce.ETFs in FocusAgainst this backdrop, investors can keep track of regular gold ETFs like SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), iShares Gold Trust IAU, Aberdeen Standard Physical Swiss Gold Shares ETF SGOL, SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust GLDM and GraniteShares Gold Shares BAR.Bottom LineHaving said this, we would like to note that the current scenario is not in favor of gold investing fully as the greenback is in solid shape. Gold investors should closely watch the economic and market events before taking any decision. Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report SPDR Gold Shares (GLD): ETF Research Reports iShares Gold Trust (IAU): ETF Research Reports abrdn Physical Gold Shares ETF (SGOL): ETF Research Reports GraniteShares Gold Trust (BAR): ETF Research Reports SPDR Gold MiniShares Trust (GLDM): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 14th, 2022