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Fed up with Chicago’s expensive housing and parking woes? One TikTok user’s suggestion: Move to Peoria.

Angelica Ostaszewski's pride for Peoria is infectious. So much so that her TikTok videos about the city have gone viral. Her wish: For more to move to Peoria!Angelica Ostaszewski's pride for Peoria is infectious. So much so that her TikTok videos about the city have gone viral. Her wish: For more to move to Peoria!.....»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneJun 28th, 2022

Nord Stream 1 will come back online - but no end in sight for Europe"s energy woes

The biggest story in markets today is the return of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline back to gas flows — but there's good and bad news. The good news: Russia will turn the Nord Stream 1 pipeline back on. The bad news: Europe's energy crisis is far from over. Phil Rosen here, guzzling a midweek coffee in New York City. Moscow's recent maneuvers have included tapering energy flows and circumventing Western sanctions, all while carrying out its war on Ukraine. And, depending on how the next several days unfold, its next move may determine the if and when of a European recession. Okay — let's talk shop. If this was forwarded to you, sign up here. Download Insider's app here.Pipes at the landfall facilities of the 'Nord Stream 2' gas pipline are pictured in Lubmin, northern Germany, on Feb. 15, 2022..AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File1. After much anxiety, Nord Stream 1 will reopen on schedule. But, according to a Reuters report, gas flows are going to be trickling in at reduced levels starting Thursday.The pipeline, which was shut down for maintenance this month, is responsible for more than one-third of Russia's natural gas exports to Europe. But even before it went offline last week, Gazprom had slashed deliveries by 60% — which prompted European officials to accuse the Kremlin of weaponizing energy flows. The fate of the pipeline — and whether Russia would turn routine maintenance into a lasting shutoff — was the source of significant anxiety this month for European leaders facing a worsening energy crisis.And there's good reason for concern. Russian President Vladimir Putin said flows to Europe could be cut further to 20% of capacity due to problems with equipment.The EU early Wednesday asked governments to be conservative with their energy use, as the IMF warned that in the event of a full Russian gas cutoff, Europe's economies would sink into severe recessions.However, even as the EU economy teeters, the world's biggest crude exporter seems to be doing just fine. Saudi Arabia is on pace to notch its best oil shipping month since 2020, and China's influx of crude imports have helped the cause. And to bring it back to Moscow — it's worth noting that Saudi Arabia more than doubled its imports of Russian oil in the second quarter to free up the Kingdom's own crude for exports.Chinese President Xi Jinping seen delivering a speech at via video link at a media centre in Boao, China, on April 21, 2022.REUTERS/Kevin Yao2. Global stocks rise Wednesday, as US stock futures fall. Also, bitcoin was last seen trading above the $23,600 level. Here are the latest market moves.3. On the docket: Tesla, Abbott Laboratories, and Crown Castle Corp, all reporting. 4. These deeply discounted stocks can beat their peers in the travel and service sectors, according to Morningstar's chief US market strategist. Dave Sekera broke down his top picks amid a recession-resistant shift in consumer spending patterns. See his list of 13 names here. 5. China is no longer the top holder of US debt after its total dips below $1 trillion for the first time in 12 years. In May, China held $980.8 billion in US debt, down $23 billion from the prior month and almost $100 billion from a year ago, Treasury Department figures show. Here's what you want to know. 6. It's premature to believe inflation is going to peak and cool down soon, Goldman Sachs' chief equity strategist said. In Peter Oppenheimer's view, most people are still living in a reality where prices are still on the rise. The recent hot inflation data makes him believe core inflation is still accelerating well ahead of expectations. 7. Lumber prices are looking for direction as the housing market finally slows. An easing of mortgage rates had helped boost lumber prices in early July, but those gains have tapered off — and homebuilder confidence has cratered to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic.8. BlackRock equities investment chief said it's time to shift money from US stocks and cash into beaten-down European companies. He laid out the three key reasons why investors should make the move — and exactly what part of the market to buy into now. 9. An investment analyst at a $31 billion firm said home prices are on track to fall back toward their pre-pandemic levels. "The US housing market is due for a reset," said Penn Mutual Asset Management's Michael Cook. He shared three cities where declines will be among the worst in the country.Netflix stock July 19, 2022.Markets Insider10. Netflix reported earnings after the bell Tuesday, and its stock jumped. The company was coming off of a first quarter earnings disaster, and the streaming giant spent months revamping its business, laying off employees, and planning a less expensive subscription tier. This is where things stand now after Netflix said it lost more subscribers.Keep up with the latest markets news throughout your day by checking out The Refresh from Insider, a dynamic audio news brief from the Insider newsroom. Listen here.Curated by Phil Rosen in New York. (Feedback or tips? Email prosen@insider.com or tweet @philrosenn).Edited by Max Adams (@maxradams) in New York and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 20th, 2022

Lendlease’s New York Construction group tops out Garden Towers in the Bronx

 Lendlease, a leading global real estate group, announced today its New York Construction group has topped out Garden Towers, an affordable senior housing community in the Bronx developed by Foxy Management, in partnership with HANAC, Inc. and JLD Advisory LLC. Located at 1323 Boston Road and 1332 Clinton Ave., the... The post Lendlease’s New York Construction group tops out Garden Towers in the Bronx appeared first on Real Estate Weekly.  Lendlease, a leading global real estate group, announced today its New York Construction group has topped out Garden Towers, an affordable senior housing community in the Bronx developed by Foxy Management, in partnership with HANAC, Inc. and JLD Advisory LLC. Located at 1323 Boston Road and 1332 Clinton Ave., the project includes two residential buildings – rising seven stories and eight stories – that together offer a total of 149 rental units for low-income adults age 62 or older. Lendlease, the construction manager for the project, broke ground on the development in August 2021, with expected completion in 2023. “Garden Towers represents our third project with Foxy Management, our most active affordable housing developer client in New York over the past six years, and we’re extremely proud of the partnership that’s since grown between us,” said Steven Sommer, Executive General Manager and President of New York Construction at Lendlease. “That level of trust and collaboration is so integral to the success of an affordable housing project, with all partners aligned and working together to cross the finish line and deliver much-needed housing. We’re excited to celebrate this milestone for Garden Towers and look forward to a smooth completion as we move into the final phase of construction.”  Designed by Newman Design, Garden Towers features a variety of amenities and common areas, including a glass greenhouse that serves as a walkway between the two buildings as well as a gathering space for residents. Other amenities will include three multi-purpose rooms, a social services suite, computer room, on-site laundry, indoor bicycle storage and resident parking. Common areas are designed to address senior-specific wellness. Lendlease is building the property to meet Passive House standards, including upgraded insulation, electric MEP systems and a central exhaust system that minimizes building penetrations and heat loss. “New York is at the forefront of integrating sustainable design into the built environment — a commitment that extends to both market-rate and affordable housing and aligns with Lendlease’s own goal of achieving absolute zero carbon by 2040,” noted Sommer. “While from a construction perspective some of these elements are more expensive upfront, typically the developer sees gains in the long run by building to Passive House standards and incorporating other energy-efficient elements that ultimately lower operating costs. Like most affordable housing projects we’re building in New York right now, Garden Towers also features solar panels, which further benefit the owner in terms of electricity generation as well as a tax credit for solar.” Developed under New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD’s) Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) program, 30% of the units at Garden Towers are set aside for homeless seniors. All apartments will be affordable to households earning at or below 50% of the Area Median Income. “Lendlease has proven time and again that they are much more than a construction manager; they are our partner,” said Jeff Fox, Principal of Foxy Management. “We, and the community that will benefit from this incredible development project, owe a debt of gratitude to Steve and his firm. We very much look forward to our continued collaboration.” In the U.S., Lendlease offers over 100 years of experience in the construction industry. The firm’s progressive and collaborative approach to providing construction services and solutions has resulted in more than 1,200 client partnerships and nearly 3,000 projects in the last decade. Lendlease offers property solutions through construction management, general contracting, program and project management, design/build and consulting services. The post Lendlease’s New York Construction group tops out Garden Towers in the Bronx appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyJun 30th, 2022

Ford to Tesla: “We got it from here”

  The most fascinating thing about Tesla is how the electric vehicle maker forced the entire automotive industry forward. Elon Musk deserves much of the credit, but it’s easy to overlook the contributions of Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos. Over the past 25 years, Amazon has cut a devastating swath across the entire retail sector, as stores,… Read More The post Ford to Tesla: “We got it from here” appeared first on The Big Picture.   The most fascinating thing about Tesla is how the electric vehicle maker forced the entire automotive industry forward. Elon Musk deserves much of the credit, but it’s easy to overlook the contributions of Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos. Over the past 25 years, Amazon has cut a devastating swath across the entire retail sector, as stores, malls, wholesalers, and retailers watched profit margins shrink and their customers abandon them in droves. Legacy automakers saw the devastation wrought by Amazon and decided they were having none of it. They would not allow Musk to do to them what Bezos did to the retailers. Despite being calcified, bureaucratized, century-old legacy automakers, they reacted quicker than retailers did. The result is a burgeoning EV market with dozens of new models for sale today and many dozens more coming over the next 36 months. This is how the $40,000 Ford F150 Lightning came to be. I spent a week with this behemoth and it’s quite a spectacular vehicle, very different than my usual rides. I will share a few thoughts about the F150 Lightning, my expectations for how it will do, and what the future might bring for EVs, Tesla, and legacy automakers. One other thing: Wherever we went, the Lightning attracted attention. people came up to us in parking lots outside of restaurants at the beach and wanted to ask about the F150. Once these become more common, I expect the attention will fade. The Lightning This is a full-sized pickup truck, with the same dimensions as the traditional Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 40-plus years. If a pickup is your regular drive, you will feel right at home in this vehicle. The Lightning comes in four flavors: Pro ($39,947), XLT ($52,974), Lariat ($67,474) and Platinum ($90,874). My tester was a maxed-out Platinum with a $94k sticker. It’s a high-quality Luxo-barge, with excellent fit and finish and all sorts of great tech. The dual-motor extended-range battery cranked out 580 horsepower (about the same as my BMW M6) and 775 lb-ft of torque. On a full charge, you can expect 300 miles for the Platinum (320 miles for the Lariat). How you drive has a huge impact on range. With the truck fully loaded and driving a careful 55 mph east got much better gas mileage than I did stomping it on the way home with an empty pickup bed. The base version at $40k is a whole lot of truck for the money: AWD, dual motors good for 452 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque and a range of 230 miles. Ford noted more than half of the pre-orders were the midrange models. It’s handsome, as far as pickups go. The light bars front and back and the charge port on the driver side (the one on the passenger side is a dummy) are the only external cues this is not your usual internal combustion engine (ICE) F-150. The immense vertical touch screen in the center of the dashboard is another clue. Driving I normally don’t drive a pickup truck or even a full-sized SUV. I tend towards low-slung, high-horsepower fun machines; my past three utility vehicles were a BMW X4, Porsche Macan S, and Honda Crosstour. It took a little getting used to something of this size and heft. Slide 1,500-1,800 pounds of battery underneath and you have a 6,855 pound vehicle that handles rather differently than a sports car. It takes more than a gentle thumb to move the steering wheel of this beast through any sort of turn. Bringing the behemoth to a dead stop requires planning and anticipation. This is a genuine issue because the Lightning accelerates to 60 mph in just 4 seconds. It pains me to say this, but it’s testimony to the superiority of the EV platform versus traditional ICE just how fast this truck is. The Platinum is a very comfortable ride with all of the creature comforts and luxury settings you would expect from a near 6 figure truck. If your usual SUV is an Acura or Lexus, you will find yourself surprisingly comfortable in the Lightning. Space The F150 is huge inside. Grab handles on the A pillars make it easy to pull yourself into the driver or passenger seat of the spacious cabin. The rear seats of the Crew Cab were spacious for even the largest inhabitants. They fold up, in case you need even more space. The five and a half feet bed (67.1 inches) swallowed up a big 4 burner grill, a 6 foot outdoor table, and a disassembled Roman hammock, along with other assorted stuff for our drive out to the beach house. But the show-stopper was the “Frunk” – the massive front trunk that was about the size of a normal passenger car trunk. I tossed a few overnight bags and other goods in it with plenty of room to spare. Features and Options I really liked the wonderful driver assist / lane keep / cruise control. It works well, nearly invisibly, and only requires you stare ahead at the road – hands on the wheel or not. But look at the giant center screen for more than moment and it nags you to pay attention. about that screen: My beef is the same one I’ve had with every EV I’ve driven: controls buried two or three screen layers in that would have worked better as physical buttons. In fact, I would prefer if all EV makers had a simple strip of climate controls as physical buttons including heated and cooled seats and ventilation recirculation. Before you “OK, Boomer” me, it is obvious to someone who has been driving longer than you have been alive that this is going to cause accidents — it’s just too distracting. Probably less damage than cell phones have caused, but there will be accidents nonetheless. But the center screen is fast and responsive, with Ford’s trademark giant volume knob bottom center. The bottom 2 inches of the screen is reserved for climate controls. It’s as good an automobile infotainment screen as any I’ve seen, regardless of price. There are outlets and charging ports everywhere: In the front, the back, the frunk, the pickup bed. This is a vehicle that expects to be busy at work sites. Range and Charging The truck arrived 85% charged and I thought I would top it off. I plugged the truck’s charger into an extension cord running into the garage and the orange light came on which I assumed meant it was charging. It was not as I discovered the next morning. a quick search of the Ford message boards and I discovered that I needed to make sure the plug was clicked into place and when that occurred the charging light turned blue. Chalk it up to a newbie error. A regular 120-volt source of power adds only a few miles of range per hour. Overnight gets you barely 30-40 miles. At the beach, we were able to snag primo parking at the chargers. I use the app “EV Connect” and added another 35 or so miles of range for $6 over 2 hours. I had no idea at the time that this would be a bargain with gas over $5 a gallon. By now, you probably have heard you can run your entire house off of a fully charged truck for 3 days. I was amused by how much of my usual vocabulary has been driven by a lifetime of experiences with ICE: “Step on the gas, fill up the tank, exhaust note, engine – all phrases that served as constant reminders this is a new era. ~~~ Would I buy a Ford F-150 Lightning or any other EV today? I have no need for a pickup truck so the Lightning is out of the question for me. However, I have no doubt that this is going to be a massive seller for Ford. I suspect this is likely to be the vehicle that gets middle America to adopt electric vehicles. As to other EVs, what I like seem wildly overpriced relative to their ICE competitors: Porsche Taycan, Audi GT eTron, even the Lucid Air and Tesla Plaid are quite expensive,  even with gas over $5 a gallon. That’s before we install a 240 charger in the garage here and at the beach house. As of today, I am not an ideal customer for pure EVs, much more inclined toward hybrids. We were looking at winter homes pre-covid – if the housing market returns to sanity we would want an SUV we can load up for the trip back and forth down the coast without the need to plan around charging. My shortlist includes new versions of Defender 110 or the HSE Sport available soon in the US; the UK versions are high-performance hybrids garnering high double-digit MPG. If BMW ever decided to share their X5 hybrid technology with the X6, I would add that to our shortlist as well. And ever since I totaled my wife’s Panamera 4S (T-boned at 5 mph) the hybrid version of that vehicle has been on my list also. We are in the transition period from ICE to EV – a hybrid would serve my family’s needs well. Spending a week with the Ford F-150 lightning left me with no doubt about a few things: -The truck is going to be a huge hit (even if I don’t feel the need to be an early adopter). -The transition to EVs is going to happen much faster than people expect; -Ford has gotten its game together and is going to be a serious challenger to Tesla. They’re fit and finish is vastly superior, but Tesla still has the edge in terms of software and programming. -Don’t be surprised to see an electrified version of the smash hit Bronco within two years also. -We are already past peak ICE, but they will stay on the road for another 10 to 20 years after initial sale; -Credit to Elon Musk (and Jeff Bezos) for driving us into the future. EVs are here, and the future is coming fast. Faster than you might think…     Previously: Ford vs Ferrari Tesla (January 6, 2022) 2021 Mustang Mach E (December 18, 2020)   The post Ford to Tesla: “We got it from here” appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJun 17th, 2022

Ford to Tesla: We got it from here

  The most fascinating thing about Tesla is how the electric vehicle maker forced the entire automotive industry forward. Elon Musk deserves much of the credit, but it’s easy to overlook the contributions of Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos. Over the past 25 years, Amazon has cut a devastating swath across the entire retail sector, as stores,… Read More The post Ford to Tesla: We got it from here appeared first on The Big Picture.   The most fascinating thing about Tesla is how the electric vehicle maker forced the entire automotive industry forward. Elon Musk deserves much of the credit, but it’s easy to overlook the contributions of Amazon‘s Jeff Bezos. Over the past 25 years, Amazon has cut a devastating swath across the entire retail sector, as stores, malls, wholesalers, and retailers watched profit margins shrink and their customers abandon them in droves. Legacy automakers saw the devastation wrought by Amazon and decided they were having none of it. They would not allow Musk to do to them what Bezos did to the retailers. Despite being calcified, bureaucratized, century-old legacy automakers, they reacted quicker than retailers did. The result is a burgeoning EV market with dozens of new models for sale today and many dozens more coming over the next 36 months. This is how the $40,000 Ford F150 Lightning came to be. I spent a week with this behemoth and it’s quite a spectacular vehicle, very different than my usual rides. I will share a few thoughts about the F150 Lightning, my expectations for how it will do, and what the future might bring for EVs, Tesla, and legacy automakers. One other thing: Wherever we went, the Lightning attracted attention. people came up to us in parking lots outside of restaurants at the beach and wanted to ask about the F150. Once these become more common, I expect the attention will fade. The Lightning This is a full-sized pickup truck, with the same dimensions as the traditional Ford F-150, the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 40-plus years. If a pickup is your regular drive, you will feel right at home in this vehicle. The Lightning comes in four flavors: Pro ($39,947), XLT ($52,974), Lariat ($67,474) and Platinum ($90,874). My tester was a maxed-out Platinum with a $94k sticker. It’s a high-quality Luxo-barge, with excellent fit and finish and all sorts of great tech. The dual-motor extended-range battery cranked out 580 horsepower (about the same as my BMW M6) and 775 lb-ft of torque. On a full charge, you can expect 300 miles for the Platinum (320 miles for the Lariat). How you drive has a huge impact on range. With the truck fully loaded and driving a careful 55 mph east got much better gas mileage than I did stomping it on the way home with an empty pickup bed. The base version at $40k is a whole lot of truck for the money: AWD, dual motors good for 452 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque and a range of 230 miles. Ford noted more than half of the pre-orders were the midrange models. It’s handsome, as far as pickups go. The light bar’s front and back and the charge port on the driver side (the one on the passenger side is a dummy) are the only external cues this is not your usual internal combustion engine (ICE) F-150. The immense vertical touch screen in the center of the dashboard is another clue. Driving I normally don’t drive a pickup truck or even a full-sized SUV. I tend towards low-slung, high-horsepower fun machines; my past three utility vehicles were a BMW X4, Porsche Macan S, and Honda Crosstour. It took a little getting used to something of this size and heft. Slide 1,500-1,800 pounds of battery underneath and you have a 6,855 pound vehicle that handles rather differently than a sports car. It takes more than a gentle thumb to move the steering wheel of this beast through any sort of turn. Bringing the behemoth to a dead stop requires planning and anticipation. This is a genuine issue because the Lightning accelerates to 60 mph in just 4 seconds. It pains me to say this, but it’s testimony to the superiority of the EV platform versus traditional ICE just how fast this truck is. The Platinum is a very comfortable ride with all of the creature comforts and luxury settings you would expect from a near 6 figure truck. If your usual SUV is an Acura or Lexus, you will find yourself surprisingly comfortable in the Lightning. Space The F150 is huge inside. Grab handles on the A pillars make it easy to pull yourself into the driver or passenger seat of the spacious cabin. The rear seats of the Crew Cab were spacious for even the largest inhabitants. They fold up, in case you need even more space. The five and a half feet bed (67.1 inches) swallowed up a big 4 burner grill, a 6 foot outdoor table, and a disassembled Roman hammock, along with other assorted stuff for our drive out to the beach house. But the show-stopper was the “Frunk” – the massive front trunk that was about the size of a normal passenger car trunk. I tossed a few overnight bags and other goods in it with plenty of room to spare. Features and Options I really liked the wonderful driver assist / lane keep / cruise control. It works well, nearly invisibly, and only requires you stare ahead at the road – hands on the wheel or not. But look at the giant center screen for more than moment and it nags you to pay attention. The center screen was fast and responsive, with Ford’s trademark giant volume knob bottom center. The bottom 2 inches of the screen was reserved for climate controls. It’s as good an automobile infotainment screen as any I’ve seen regardless of price. There are outlets and charging ports everywhere: In the front, the back, the frunk, the pickup bed. This is a vehicle that expects top be on work sites. My only beef is the same one I’ve had with every EV I’ve driven: controls buried two or three screen layers in that would have worked better as physical buttons. In fact, I would prefer if all EV makers had a simple strip of climate controls as physical buttons including heated and cooled seats and ventilation recirculation. Before you “OK, Boomer” me, it is obvious to someone who has been driving longer than you have been alive that this is going to cause accidents — it’s just too distracting. Probably less damage than cell phones have caused, but there will be accidents nonetheless. Range and Charging The truck arrived 85% charged and I thought I would top it off. I plugged the trucks charger into an extension cord running into the garage and the orange light came on which I assumed meant it was charging. It was not as I discovered the next morning. a quick search of the Ford message boards and I discovered that I needed to make sure the plug was clicked into place and when that occurred the charging light turned blue. Chalk it up to a newbie error. A regular 120 volt source of power adds only a few miles of range per hour. Overnight gets you barely 30-40 miles. At the beach, we were able to snag primo parking at the chargers. I use the app “EV Connect” and added another 35 or so miles of range for $6 over 2 hours. I had no idea at the time that this would be a bargain with gas over $5 a gallon. By now, you probably have heard you can run your entire house off of a fully charged truck for 3 days. I was amused by how much of my usual vocabulary has been driven by a lifetime of experiences with ICE: “Step on the gas, fill up the tank, exhaust note, engine – all phrases that served as constant reminders this is a new era. ~~~ Would I buy a Ford F-150 Lightning or any other EV today? I have no need for a pickup truck so the Lightning is out of the question for me. However, I have no doubt that this is going to be a massive seller for Ford. I suspect this is likely to be the vehicle that gets middle America to adopt electric vehicles. As to other EVs, what I like seem wildly overpriced relative to their ICE competitors: Porsche Taycan, Audi GT eTron, even the Lucid Air and Tesla Plaid are quite expensive,  even with gas over $5 a gallon. That’s before we install a 240 charger in the garage here and at the beach house. As of today, I am not an ideal customer for pure EVs, much more inclined towards hybrids. We were looking at winter homes pre-covid – if the housing market returns to sanity we would want an SUV we can load up for the trip back and forth down the coast without the need to plan around charging. My short list includes new versions of Defender 110 or the HSE Sport available soon in the US; the UK versions are high performance hybrids garnering high double-digit MPG. If BMW ever decided to share their X5 hybrid technology with the X6, I would add that to our short list as well. And ever since I totaled my wife’s Panamera 4S (T-boned at 5 mph) the hybrid version of that vehicle has been on my list also. We are in the transition period from ICE to EV – a hybrid serves my family’s needs well. Spending a week with the Ford F-150 lightning left me with no doubt about a few things: -The truck is going to be a huge hit (even if I don’t feel the need to be an early adopter). -The transition to EVs is going to happen much faster than people expect; -Ford has gotten its game together and is going to be a serious challenger to Tesla. They’re fit and finish is vastly superior, but Tesla still has the edge in terms of software and programming. -Don’t be surprised to see an electrified version of the smash hit Bronco within two years also. -We are already past peak ICE, but they will stay on the road for another 10 to 20 years after initial sale; -Credit to Elon Musk (and Jeff Bezos) for driving us into the future. EVs are here, and the future is coming fast. Faster than you might think…     Previously: Ford vs Ferrari Tesla (January 6, 2022) 2021 Mustang Mach E (December 18, 2020)   The post Ford to Tesla: We got it from here appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJun 17th, 2022

Solid state drives are faster and safer than standard hard drives — here"s how they work and why they"re worth the price

Solid state drives (SSDs) are faster and safer than regular hard disk drives (HDDs), but can often be more expensive. SSDs can be used alongside hard drives.CASEZY/Getty Images Solid state drives (SSDs) are faster and safer than regular hard disk drives (HDDs). On the other hand, hard disk drives tend to be less expensive than newer solid state drives. The best computer setups use both SSDs and HDDs in one system. Back in the day, the only thing you needed to consider when buying a storage drive for your computer was its size. But now, you've got another option to decide on: Do you want a solid state drive, a hard disk drive, or both? It's not always an easy question, especially if you don't know the difference between SSDs and HDDs.Here's a comparison between both types of storage drives, along with a solid answer for anyone who's not sure what to buy.What's the difference between SSDs and HDDs?First, let's take a second to talk about how the two types actually work.Hard disk drives store your data on a magnetic disk. When you need to access the data, the disk spins, and small arms called "read-and-write heads" move over the disk to convert its magnetic field into an electric current. That current then gets translated into a digital signal that your computer understands as data.In contrast, solid state drives have no moving parts. Your data is stored in "solid" silicon semiconductors, which transfer and send electric currents for your computer to read.SSDs like this one are often much smaller than hard drives.Andrii Atanov/Getty ImagesBut what does this mean in practice? The short answer is that solid state drives are almost always safer and faster — but hard disk drives have their advantages too. Here's a breakdown.SSDs are safer than HDDs because they don't moveA hard disk drive's arm can move above the magnetic disk at a distance of less than 10 nanometers. That's thousands of times thinner than even a strand of hair. This lets you access your data quickly, and keeps hard drives compact enough to fit in your computer.But if the arm ever gets jostled and touches the disk, even for a millisecond — you'll get what's called a "head crash." The arm will scrape across the disk, tearing through the magnetic plating and destroying every bit of saved data in its path. Most head crashes end up corrupting the entire disk, rendering it useless.Head crashes usually happen when a user drops their laptop, jolting the internal hard drive. Many modern systems have "parking" features that detect if the laptop is being jostled, and lock the arm into place away from the disk. But even with these safeguards, accidents happen.The hard drive’s read-and-write head travels barely above the disk.H K Singh/ShutterstockSolid state drives don't have to worry about these sorts of crashes. Since they don't have moving parts, there's no risk of one part crashing into another. They also use less energy, meaning they produce less heat but can handle more.According to Steve Chang, President of ASUS Computer International, this makes SSDs much better suited for "extreme and harsh environments" where they might need to withstand "accidental drops and other shocks, vibration, extreme temperatures, and magnetic fields." That's why most external hard drives are solid state. They're durable and less prone to mechanical errors.SSDs can load and save data faster than HDDsWhile safety is great, the main reason most people are switching over to solid state drives is their speed. SSDs are exponentially faster than most HDDs, making them a great choice for anyone who multitasks.The exact timing between SSDs and HDDs vary depending on a variety of factors. But a speed test provided to us by ASUS shows a sample HDD taking about "10 milliseconds to read and write" a piece of data, while a sample SSD reads and writes the same data "within a few microseconds." For reference, every millisecond equals a thousand microseconds.A lot of this speed comes from, again, the lack of moving parts. Since you don't have to wait for a disk to start spinning or an arm to convert signals, your SSD can retrieve the data you need much faster. Chang also notes that while HDD arms can only read one part of their magnetic disk at once, "an SSD can read multiple flash chips and fetch data parallelly," meaning that it can process lots of data requests at once.You'll probably notice your SSD's speed the most when turning on your computer. Loading your operating system from a solid state drive can cut startup times in half, if not more. And the time between seeing your desktop and actually being able to start using the computer shrinks too.Speed and safety are an SSD's two major benefits. But HDDs have their perks, especially if you're looking to save money.HDDs tend to be cheaper and bigger than SSDs — but this may be changingHard disk drives have been around for over 50 years, and developers have innovated on them in about every way possible. This means that on average, you can buy hard disk drives with a lot more storage space for much less money.For example, let's compare the Western Digital Blue Desktop Hard Drive to the Western Digital Blue SN570 NVMe Solid State Drive. Here are their price points for the same amount of storage space, taken from the official Western Digital website: 500 Gigabytes (GB)1 Terabyte (TB)Western Digital Blue Desktop HDD$36.99$44.99Western Digital Blue SN570 NVMe SSD$59.99$89.99Individual hard drives offer higher maximum capacities than solid state drives too. Western Digital's most popular SSD, the WD BLACK SN850, can go up to 2TB in size. Meanwhile, their most popular hard drive, the WD Red Plus NAS, can go up to 14TB (for only $299!).It's true that as time goes on, solid state drives are gradually dropping in price. Kyle DeWitt, Vice President of Technical Services at the IT firm ScanSource, tells Insider that as SSD manufacturers work on "shrinking the size of the components and getting more out of the silicon," we'll start to see "more storage at lower prices, and in smaller devices."But as of this writing, it's hard to beat HDDs when it comes to price and storage size. If you don't care about speed, and just need a lot of storage space for a low price (maybe for archival purposes), look into hard drives. You can combine SSDs and HDDs for the best experienceIf you've got a tight budget, chances are that you'll have to choose between a solid state drive and a hard disk drive. But most new computer motherboards reserve space for both SSDs chips and HDDs. This means that if you have a bit of extra cash, you can probably use both types of storage at once.Combining SSDs and HDDs lets you "enjoy the best of both worlds," says Chang. "[You] can have more storage for large media files on HDDs such as videos, and quicker access to important files via SSDs." In other words, keeping the files and apps you use every day — say your internet browser or music — on the SSD means you can always open them quickly. But you can keep the big files that you don't use as often on the HDD, saving you storage space while keeping the files handy if you do need them.And Windows makes it a breeze to move files between the two drives. All you need to do is drag-and-drop them over, as if you were changing folders.In our experience, one of the best ways to take advantage of this dual-drive setup is to install your operating system onto the SSD. This might take up a lot of its space, but makes turning on your computer a lightning fast process.Using SSDs and HDDs in tandem is a great idea.Damrong Rattanapong/ShutterstockInsider's takeaway: SSDs are worth the extra priceNo matter who you are, you need somewhere to store all your data. It's equipment worth investing in — and that's why if you need to choose between the two storage types, most users are better off with a solid state drive. They're faster and safer for everyday use, and when combined with a traditional hard drive, can really help get the most out of your setup.If you're looking for new equipment, check out brands like Western Digital, Samsung, and Corsair. They'll sell you SSD chips that are sure to speed up your workflow.Dave Johnson contributed to a previous version of this article.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 10th, 2022

America Needs to End Its Love Affair With Single-Family Homes. One Town Is Discovering It’s a Tough Sell

The housing development Brown Ranch aims to provide affordable housing to a community that desperately needs it. Its road ahead is filled with challenges. The question came, as it always did, just as Jason Peasley finished making his case for Brown Ranch, a development that would grow the size of his city by one-third and finally provide some affordable housing for the hundreds of people doubled up in trailer parks and hotel rooms in the ski town. The development, as Peasley pitched it to the room of residents gathered under thick wooden beams in the local community center, would use density to solve the housing problem—mainly by building apartments and attached homes. “What about single family homes?” a woman standing in the back of the meeting room asked. “Because I would like to buy one someday.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Steamboat Springs, Colo.—where Peasley serves as the head of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, providing affordable housing to all of Routt County—is a mountain town that draws people for its wide open vistas and outdoor space. The idea of living in an apartment on what is now green rolling hills jarred people with visions of their own porches and yards, who had seen their neighbors amass hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity just by owning a single family home during the pandemic. “Personally, I would take a very, very small house,” another resident said. “So would I,” the woman in the back said quickly, so as not to be left out. Peasley sighed. Nine months ago, he’d been given an opportunity that most urban planners dream of—an anonymous donation of 536 acres of land to build long-term affordable housing for people who live and work in Steamboat Springs. But it’s difficult to get buy-in to use hundreds of acres to build multifamily homes in Steamboat, which currently has 1,400 fewer housing units than are currently needed. Residents might support density in theory, but what they really want is a single-family home to call their own. How Steamboat solves this conundrum could have implications for communities across the country that are struggling with affordability as their populations grow. Home prices have soared in the past two years in cities like Austin and Phoenix as well as in ski towns like Truckee and Sun Valley. Adding more dense housing units would help keep prices affordable, because many of these places have natural boundaries like mountains or oceans that prevent developers from sprawling out. But proposals like Peasley’s are usually thwarted by neighbors who complain about their views being blocked or their parking becoming limited or their beloved town—which they themselves moved to years or decades before—getting too crowded. David Williams for TIMEJason Peasley, Exectutive Director of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority, stands on Brown Ranch just west of the city of Steamboat Springs, Colorado on May 16, 2022. Many communities like Steamboat are reaching a breaking point. Here, the need for more housing had been abundantly clear even before the pandemic, as investors turned condos and apartments that had once provided workforce housing into cash cows on Airbnb. Then, in 2020, remote workers flocked to Steamboat. For all the urban planners proclaiming density to be the solution to America’s housing needs, the majority of Americans still dreamed of a single-family home, with a yard, a tree, and room to grow, and the pandemic only whetted that appetite as families spent more time at home and looked for private outdoor space and extra rooms to double as offices. The median listing price of a single family home in Steamboat is now $829,000, up from $529,000 in 2019. Rents for a one-bedroom apartment are hovering around $2,100, about one-third higher than the national average. By July of 2021, 60 percent of Americans said they’d prefer to live in a place where the homes are large and farther apart, even if schools, stores, and restaurants were a few miles away, up from 53 percent before the pandemic, according to a Pew Research Center survey. In contrast, 39 percent preferred a community where homes are small and close to each other but where schools, stores, and restaurants were in walking distance, down from 47 percent in 2019. That’s even though half of Americans say that affordable housing is a major problem in their community. As Peasley has tried to explain time and again, affordability and density go hand in hand. Single family homes are much more expensive to build than attached homes or apartments, and they take up more room, and need more resources to maintain. Steamboat could build seven attached homes for the amount it would cost to build one single-family detached home, according to projections by Mithun, a consulting group helping with the project. Read More: Return to the Office? Not in This Housing Market “We have an opportunity that maybe no other community has to really thoughtfully address our housing issues in one massive development,” Peasley, a tall redheaded urban planning guru who could be mistaken for an Olympic skateboarder, told me recently. “This could really be a template for our 21st century live, work, and play.” Peasley is uniquely suited to helping convert Steamboat to pro-density. He was a city planner for Steamboat Springs for five years before taking over the Yampa Valley Housing Authority a decade ago; his tenure has created hundreds of units of affordable housing. His success in getting tax credits to build some affordable housing in Steamboat is what motivated anonymous donors to give him the money to buy Brown Ranch and build even more. Peasley hopes to build 2,300 units at Brown Ranch, which would meet the demand projected for the next two decades. But no matter how many times Peasley explains this all to the community, even the most self-aware residents of Steamboat are having a hard time letting go of their vision of a home and yard to call their own. “The disconnect we’re having is that everyone wants the American dream—a single-family home—and economists tell us it’s not possible,” Peasley says. The surest way to wealth in America has long been to stake claim to a plot of land and a home, but places like Steamboat are discovering that if they are dedicated to welcoming everyone who wants to live there, they’re going to have to pioneer another way. The problem with seeking more space In 1890, the U.S. Census Bureau declared the American frontier closed, meaning there was no land that settlers hadn’t claimed, nowhere further west to expand. Yet people have continued to move west, seeking better weather, more land, a different life, the growing population all competing for a limited set of homes, roads, and water. Since the turn of the 20th century, the American West—which is roughly the states from Colorado west, defined by the Census Bureau—has added 73 million people. Today, nearly one-quarter of the nation’s population lives in the 13 western states, up from just 7% in 1900. If new residents lived in the west the same way they lived in cities like New York and Philadelphia—in tall buildings with apartments stacked on top of one another—there might not be a housing affordability problem today. But in the westward expansion, Americans grabbed as much space as they could, sometimes given it for free by the federal government if they were willing to farm it. The West grew out rather than up. “There’s a certain independence that Westerners have, where folks don’t want to be regulated, they value independence and wide open spaces, and that manifests itself in the housing choices people make,” says Robert Parker, director of strategy at the University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy Research & Engagement, where he studies housing density. David Williams for TIMEBrown Ranch, a 536-acre property on the west side of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, which was gifted to the Yampa Valley Housing Authority in mid-August 2021 by an anonymous donor. Worried about sprawl, some cities started establishing urban growth boundaries in the 1950s, limiting development outside a certain area. The boundaries preserved the open space that drew people west, but also limited housing production. Today, in Steamboat Springs, development outside the urban growth boundary is restricted to one unit every 35 acres—or less. That puts even more pressure on building density where it is allowed; Brown Ranch is the largest plot of undeveloped land inside Steamboat’s urban growth boundary. When land seemed endless and cheap, the federal government encouraged families to spread out. It subsidized highways so that wealthier families could easily get between city centers and the suburbs, and provided tax incentives for home ownership. But Americans’ preference for single-family homes has also contributed to the housing undersupply that has sent prices soaring over the last two years. Between 1970 and 2020, 52 million single-family homes were built in America, accounting for three-quarters of all the housing built over that time, according to Census data. Over the same time, the population grew by 128 million. As a result, the median price of a home in the U.S. more than doubled over that time, even when adjusted for inflation. This is playing out across states in the American West. Colorado’s population doubled between 1980 and 2020, adding 2.8 million people, but the state only built 1.4 million units over the same period, 70% of them single-family homes. The median price for a single family home in 2020 was $434,000. Today, it’s around $600,000. The families committed to staying are crowding into housing as they wait for a solution. About one-quarter of all children now live in “doubled-up” households, where a nuclear family lives with additional family members. In places like Steamboat, doubled-up households are often in the smallest homes, which are trailers in the town’s handful of trailer parks. In doubled-up households, the use of drugs and alcohol rises, as does domestic violence, because the situation is so stressful, says Irene Avitia, who works with families at Integrated Communities, a Steamboat nonprofit that works with the Latino community. Read More: Marcia Fudge Is Trying to Decide Which Fire to Put Out First The housing troubles are also bad for the local economy. Banks are reducing their hours, and restaurants are closing a few days a week because they can’t find enough workers, because staff can’t afford to live nearby in Steamboat. The ski area cut off night service because it was so short-staffed. The local medical center struggles to recruit doctors and nurses because candidates hear about how hard it will be to find housing if they move there. One bartender, David Hughes, told me his rent for one room in a four bedroom house was going up to $1,500 per person, from $900, and he was probably going to have to leave town. “We can’t continue to exist here if employees don’t have secure housing,” says Andrew Beckler, the founder and CEO of Grass Sticks, a company that makes bamboo paddles and ski poles. That population growth outpaced the supply of single-family homes has been very good for the pocketbooks of people who have bought them in the last few decades. Homeowners collectively have $29 billion in real estate equity, three times what they did 20 years ago, according to the Federal Reserve. Investing in a home and making a big sum to retire on has become such an American rite of passage that it’s hard to ask Steamboat residents like Avitia, who lives in a trailer park with her husband and two daughters, to give up on the same dream. “I would love to own a single-family home in Steamboat, and Brown Ranch has created that hope for my family,” she says. Even people who live in apartments in Steamboat now say they’d prefer a single-family home. Lizzy Konen, 33, grew up in a single-family home in San Diego that she says her parents would never be able to afford today. She moved to Steamboat 12 years ago and wants to stay there, but the lease on the one-bedroom she rents is up in July, and the owner wants to demolish the building and construct a multimillion dollar home that he can sell for profit. Konen knows she’ll probably have to move to Oak Creek or Hayden, smaller towns that are 30-45 minutes away, because she can’t afford to buy a house or pay $2,100/month for an apartment. But when asked what her vision for Brown Ranch, she says: “I would love to own a single family home and have pets and children running around. I would rather not be in an apartment building. It doesn’t feel as homey.” David Williams for TIMETraffic passes through the downtown area of Steamboat Springs, Colorado on May 16, 2022. Selling people on apartments The big challenge for Peasley is balancing the wants of people like Avitia and Konen with the larger community’s need for affordable housing. He’s trying to learn from past missteps, like in 2010 when developers committed to building thousands of condos, the city council approved it, and then enraged voters worried about overcrowding put the project on the ballot and it was soundly defeated. This time around, Peasley is trying to get residents as involved as possible before any major decisions are made. The housing authority has held 200 community meetings where residents have spoken about what they want from Brown Ranch, and their suggestions include roof gardens, hiking trails, community composting, greenhouses, a school, a grocery store, a coffee shop, a walkable commercial area, and, of course, single-family homes. Peasley says more community engagement is what’s going to get people closer to accepting that how Brown Ranch will look will be different than their ideal vision. For example, attendees of Brown Ranch meetings often mention that they want the development to be Net Zero, which provides an opportunity for YVHA staff to explain that density is very sustainable—apartments or attached units require fewer resources to build and maintain than single-family homes. “By doing this transparent process, and having the community discuss it, we hope that while they might not agree, they at least understand,” says Cole Hewitt, the president of the board of the Yampa Valley Housing Authority. “Maybe there aren’t as many people that show up and say, ‘Well, I didn’t know this was going on.’ They can stand up and say, ‘I’m a part of it. I understand it. I get where you’re coming from. I still disagree with it.’ But that’s a lot better discussion than, ‘No, don’t do it.’” The community meetings have served to jump start a discussion about how Steamboat’s hopes and dreams match up with reality. “Everyone wants to live in a single family 5000 square foot mansion next to an ocean with a view of the mountains and is across the street from a school and within walking distance from the bar. That doesn’t exist,” Michael Fitz, a 29-year old local who owns a 600-square foot home in a trailer park, told Steamboat residents gathered to talk about the urban design of Brown Ranch. Read More: Millions of Tenants Behind on Rent, Small Landlords Struggling, Eviction Moratoriums Expiring Soon: Inside the Next Housing Crisis The people who led the opposition to the past development seem to be getting on board. Tim Rowse, who led the campaign that stopped development on Brown Ranch in 2009, told me recently that he thinks the housing authority is planning the development in the best possible way, and he supports it wholeheartedly. (He told me this from his mansion perched on acres of virgin land outside Steamboat.) Sheila Henderson, the Brown Ranch project manager who headed a local nonprofit for nearly a decade, says she recently had a good talk with a woman who wanted her own “cute little cottage” on Brown Ranch. When Henderson explained that such a home might take away space from families who were living in unsafe conditions, though, the woman relented and said she would be open to living in a multifamily home. Whether or not Brown Ranch gets built will likely depend on the persuasion powers of Peasley, an unabashed optimist who sometimes takes on the role of city coach. He says he wants to change people’s vision of what a vibrant American community can look like—it doesn’t have to have driveways and parking lots, for instance. “The only way we fail is to stop trying,” he said at a recent meeting. Besides, he says, for more than a century, people have given up creature comforts to move to Steamboat for the access to mountains and a life of beauty. That might have meant giving up plumbing or getting used to snow in May in the past; now, it might mean being OK living in a house that shares a wall with a neighbor. The reality of population growth Even if he does convince Steamboat to embrace density, Peasley still has a long road ahead to make Brown Ranch a reality. Consultants have estimated that infrastructure on the site will cost around $400 million, which includes improvements to the local highway, water treatment plant, and sewer system, and roads, and trails in the development. Once that’s complete, the housing authority can start building homes. The city isn’t even sure how it will affordably house all the workers who are going to be flocking to Steamboat to build this affordable housing. One idea is to have construction workers live in an old barn. Steamboat’s infrastructure is already straining under the weight of population growth. There’s only one main road through town, Highway 40, and at rush hour, long lines of pickup trucks get stuck at traffic lights as they make their way across town. After wildfire damage and rains created landslide dangers on Interstate 70, Colorado’s major east-west highway, traffic was rerouted onto Highway 40, causing more headaches for Steamboat residents. The electricity cooperative can only serve 15 homes at Brown Ranch before it runs out of capacity, and water is in short supply, as it is just about everywhere in the American West. Brown Ranch will, of course, add further strain. Peasley estimated that by the time Brown Ranch is finished, it will have almost 1,000 rental apartments and 400 to own, 218 single family-attached homes for rent and 266 to purchase, and 98 single-family detached homes for rent and 300 to purchase. The development will also include a K-8 school, a childcare center, office space, retail, and a grocery store. It’s enough to make old-timers argue against population growth in Steamboat. “Everybody’s moving here—I have to tell you, it would be nice if they wouldn’t,” Cindy Clark, a resident since 1988, told me, outside the crowded grocery store parking lot. But as the many doubled-up residents of Steamboat can attest, America has never been able to prevent people from moving west. Steamboat and popular communities across the country can convince the people who got there first to agree to accommodate the new residents by building more housing. Or residents can declare their cities and towns closed to new construction, new ways to live, and the new people who are seeking a place to live as they did months, years, or decades before......»»

Category: topSource: timeJun 2nd, 2022

3 Top Stocks From a Thriving Residential REIT Industry

The Zacks Equity REIT - Residential industry is riding on solid demand amid supply and regulatory woes, aiding Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. (MAA), Sun Communities, Inc. (SUI) and Camden Property Trust (CPT). The REIT And Equity Trust - Residential constituents are anticipated to benefit in the upcoming days, as rental housing demand remains robust with young adults forming new households and the job market showing improvement. Also, de-densification and the desire for more space is resulting in fewer adults per apartment, thereby creating incremental demand for renting units. Moreover, due to the high cost of homeownership, transition from renter to homeowner is difficult, making renting of apartments units a viable option. While product absorption continues in the Sun Belt and other non-gateway metros, the gateway metros are also showcasing a strong rebound. Therefore, residential REITs like Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. MAA, Sun Communities, Inc. SUI and Camden Property Trust CPT are expected to ride the growth curve, despite elevated deliveries and regulation woes.About the IndustryThe Zacks REIT And Equity Trust - Residential category is engaged in owning, developing and managing a variety of residences. The types of residences include apartment buildings, student housing, manufactured homes and single-family homes. Residential REITs rent spaces in these properties to tenants and earn rental income in return. Markedly, some residential REITs also focus on specific classes or types of residences, or a particular geographical region. Moreover, unlike apartment buildings, manufactured homes and single-family homes that are open for leasing to all, the student housing units are leased only to students. Such real estates are, therefore, generally required to be set up within or in places closer to colleges and universities. Furthermore, enrolment growth of educational institutes is a major driver of student housing assets.What's Shaping the REIT and Equity Trust - Residential Industry's Future?Robust Rental Demand, Rent and Occupancy Growth: With the reopening of offices and returning of lifestyle amenities to the established markets, a continued flow of residents is observed in the urban and job-centered suburban markets, which is encouraging. Moreover, de-densification and the desire for more space are resulting in fewer adults per apartment, thereby creating incremental demand for renting units. Also, higher household income is supporting rent growth. In fact, there is strong demand from young adults who are gaining from tight labor market conditions and record wage growth. Also, due to the high cost of homeownership, the transition from renter to homeowner is difficult, making renting of apartments units a viable option. With these positives, the residential REITs are expected to experience a solid peak leasing session with high occupancy and rent growth. In terms of markets, what is encouraging is that while there is a rebound in demand for the coastal markets, the Sun Belt markets too continued to experience high demand compared to supply. Moreover, after the past leasing sessions were affected by the pandemic, there has been a significant rebound in demand for student housing properties on the reopening of campuses and in-person classes as well as extracurricular activities. This is driving leasing activity and rent growth.Technology Adoption: Technological adoption gathered steam amid the social-distancing trend, as the global health crisis needed an almost-overnight shift to virtual operations for the continuation of business operations. Now, landlords are binding together technology with sales and service expertise, aiming at driving revenues, trimming costs, improving operating margins, as well as enhancing customer experience. The residential REITs are focusing on virtual leasing assistance, virtual and self-guided tours, and a digital move-in process. Improvement in search and tour booking as well as smart home access has gained much attention and residential REITs are focusing on these. Such efforts are aimed at generating incremental net operating income in the years ahead.Elevated Deliveries of New Units: Although supply chain woes and labor challenges have impacted construction activity to some extent, deliveries of new units are likely to accelerate in a number of markets in the upcoming quarters as the ongoing construction activity remains high, resulting in a struggle on the part of landlords to lure renters. However, although construction costs are up, landlords have been able to pass on the burden to renters, who are supported by wage growth to absorb cost increases through rent hikes.Rent Control and Higher Interest Rates: The rent-control regulations in some of the major markets might curb the growth tempo. Moreover, the hike in interest rates to counter inflation poses a risk to the flow of capital for this asset category. This is likely to lead to volatility in asset prices. Also, interest expenses are expected to climb with rate hikes.Zacks Industry Rank Indicates Bright ProspectsThe REIT And Equity Trust - Residential industry is housed within the broader Finance sector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rank #61, which places it at the top 24% of more than 250 Zacks industries.The group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates bright near-term prospects. Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1.The industry’s positioning in the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is a result of the positive funds from operations (FFO) per share outlook for the constituent companies in aggregate. Looking at the aggregate FFO per share estimate revisions, it appears that analysts are gaining confidence in this group’s growth potential. Since June 2021, the industry’s FFO per share estimate for 2022 and 2023 has moved 7.9% and 6.1% north, respectively.Before we present a few stocks that you might want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Lags on Stock Market PerformanceThe REIT And Equity Trust - Residential Industry has underperformed the S&P 500 composite and the broader Finance sector in the year so far.The industry has declined 17% during this period compared with the S&P 500 composite’s fall of 13.9% and the broader Finance sector’s 9.6%.Year-to-Date Price PerformanceIndustry's Current ValuationOn the basis of the forward 12-month price-to-FFO (funds from operations) ratio, which is a commonly-used multiple for valuing Residential REITs, we see that the industry is currently trading at 19.71X compared with the S&P 500’s forward 12-month price-to-earnings (P/E) of 17.73X. The industry is trading above the Finance sector’s forward 12-month P/E of 14.49X. This is shown in the chart below.Forward 12-Month Price-to-FFO (P/FFO) RatioOver the last five years, the industry has traded as high as 25.36X, as low as 15.70X, with a median of 18.90X.3 Residential REIT Stocks Worth Betting OnMid-America Apartment Communities, Inc.: This residential REIT is engaged in owning, acquiring, operating and developing apartment communities, located primarily in the Southeast, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Healthy demand for the company’s well-positioned Sunbelt properties will likely aid this S&P 500 company’s performance in the days to come.MAA’s diversified Sunbelt portfolio was less severely affected by the pandemic and the economic shutdown. In fact, the pandemic has accelerated employment shifts and population inflow into the company’s markets, as renters seek more business-friendly, lower-taxed and low-density cities. These favorable longer-term secular dynamic trends are increasing the desirability of its markets. Amid this, MAA is well-poised to capture recovery in demand and leasing as compared to the expensive coastal markets.MAA continues to implement its strategic programs — interior redevelopment, property repositioning projects and Smart Home installations. The programs will help the company capture the upside potential in rent growth, generate accretive returns and boost earnings from its existing asset base in 2022.MAA currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the ongoing-year FFO per share was revised marginally upward in the past week. The company’s shares have appreciated 9.8% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.   Sun Communities, Inc.: The Southfield, MI-based REIT enjoys stake in or is engaged in the ownership or operation of manufactured housing communities, recreational vehicle (RV) resorts and marina properties located across 39 states, Canada, Puerto Rico and the UK.This REIT is poised to benefit from its growth efforts in manufactured housing, RV resorts and marinas. The continued demand for affordable housing is acting as a tailwind, while demand for RV vacations is picking up pace amid the resumption of normalcy.  Sun Communities currently carries a Zacks Rank of 2. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current-year FFO per share has been revised 1.5% upward in two months’ time. The company’s shares have declined 3.2% over the past year.  Camden Property Trust: Based in Houston, TX, Camden Property Trust is engaged in the ownership, management, development, redevelopment, acquisition and construction of multi-family apartment communities. It is an S&P 500 company.Camden Property Trust is poised to benefit from the strong demand for multifamily rental housing. Demographic growth also continues to be strong in the young-adult age cohort, which has a higher propensity to rent. This age group is the main cohort for the formation of new households and most of them prefer to remain renters and enjoy locational advantages as well as flexibility that rental apartments offer.Also, there is pent-up demand from young adults living at home or with roommates. Moreover, young adults are making lifestyle decisions later, choosing to marry and have children later in life, delaying homeownership decisions.Camden Property Trust presently holds a Zacks Rank of 2. Over the past week, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2022 FFO per share has witnessed marginal upward revision to $6.50. The stock has also gained 11.1% over the past year. Note: Funds from operations (FFO) is a widely used metric to gauge the performance of REITs rather than net income as it indicates cash flow from their operations. FFO is obtained after adding depreciation and amortization to earnings and subtracting the gains on sales. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. It’s a little-known chemical company that’s up 65% over last year, yet still dirt cheap. With unrelenting demand, soaring 2022 earnings estimates, and $1.5 billion for repurchasing shares, retail investors could jump in at any time. This company could rival or surpass other recent Zacks’ Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in little more than 9 months and NVIDIA which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 MidAmerica Apartment Communities, Inc. (MAA): Free Stock Analysis Report Sun Communities, Inc. (SUI): Free Stock Analysis Report Camden Property Trust (CPT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 2nd, 2022

Let Them Eat Bugs... How Out-Of-Touch Elites Reveal Their Contempt, & What Comes Next

Let Them Eat Bugs... How Out-Of-Touch Elites Reveal Their Contempt, & What Comes Next Authored by Nick Giambruno via InternationalMan.com, Upon being told that the people had no bread, Marie Antoinette reportedly responded, “let them eat cake.” These infamous words were a stark illustration of the French elite’s careless indifference to the plight of ordinary people. Moreover, they likely fueled the anger that sparked a revolution that overturned the French ruling system. Had Marie Antoinette not been so out of touch, she might have had a better choice of words. Although history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme. I am bringing this up because recently, modern political, financial, and media elites have made numerous “let them eat cake” remarks. They similarly reveal how oblivious they are to the average person’s problems as inflation spirals out of control, shortages spread, the stock market crashes, and economic prospects look dimmer by the day. Let’s look at them and examine what they could mean for the social and political environment in the future… and what you can do about it. Example #1: Inflation Is Good First central bankers, the mainstream media, and academia tell you there is no inflation. Then, when inflation becomes undeniable, they tell you not to worry because inflation is only “transitory.” Then, when it becomes apparent that it’s not merely transitory, they tell you not to worry because inflation is actually a good thing. It’s not uncommon to see ridiculous headlines like this: Example #2: No More Turkey at Thanksgiving After inflation broke through multi-decade highs, it’s no longer possible to maintain the farce that “inflation is good.” So the elite’s messaging has pivoted to ways the plebs can cope with ever-decreasing living standards. Last Thanksgiving, it was impossible for the Federal Reserve to ignore the soaring costs of turkey. So, instead, the St. Louis branch had a helpful suggestion for those struggling—substitute delicious turkey for cheaper heavily-processed industrial sludge. Example #3: Let Your Pets Die Recently, Bloomberg published an article titled “Inflation Stings Most If You Earn Less Than $300K. Here’s How to Deal.” It recommended rethinking providing medical treatment to your pets: “If you’re one of the many Americans who became a new pet owner during the pandemic, you might want to rethink those costly pet medical needs.” Example #4: Gas Is Too Expensive? Buy a Tesla As gas prices skyrocket, transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg suggests buying an electric vehicle. That way, the plebs can stop complaining and will “never have to worry about gas prices again.” The thought of whether people could afford an expensive electric vehicle in the first place didn’t seem to cross his mind. Example #5: Housing Is Too Expensive? Live in a Pod or Move Back In With Your Parents With soaring prices making housing unaffordable in many big cities, living in pods is promoted. For example, in California, a three-bedroom home that used to house a single family has been converted into a unit that includes pods for 13 people. Similar stories are sprouting up across other cities. The media is celebrating this not as a significant downgrade but rather as an eco-friendly solution to rising housing costs. They also recommend moving back in with your parents. Example #6: Meat Is Too Expensive? Eat Bugs and Industrial Sludge With inflation making meat unaffordable for many, the elite are looking to keep the plebs happy by guilting them into thinking that meat is bad for the environment. That’s a big reason why there’s been a flurry of articles in the mainstream media condemning meat consumption and promoting cheap alternatives. Their solution is to give the plebs fake meat made of heavily-processed industrial sludge and feed them bugs. Bill Gates recently said: “I think all rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef.” “You can’t have cows anymore,” and governments can “use regulation to totally shift the demand.” An article in The Economist notes: “We’re not going to convince Europeans and Americans to go out in big numbers and start eating insects… The trick might be to slip them into the food chain on the quiet.” The Guardian tells us eating bugs can assuage your climate sins and that “if we want to save the planet, the future of food is insects.” Here’s Bloomberg: These are a couple of examples of a much broader push against meat. Here’s the bottom line. The elite have been informed that meat is becoming too expensive for the average person. Their answer: “Let them eat bugs.” Conclusion This overview is by no means a complete collection of recent “let them eat cake” statements. However, it is enough to understand what the elites think and their contempt for the average person. These are the same people who engaged in—or closely benefited from—the rampant money printing and other policies responsible for the rising prices ravaging regular people in the first place. And when the pain of inflation became apparent, their response has been… inflation is good… no more turkey at Thanksgiving… let your pets die… buy an expensive electric vehicle… live in a pod or move back in with your parents… and eat bugs. Instead of looking at these examples separately, take a step back and reflect on the Big Picture they paint. That will help us better understand the social and political situation, where things might be headed, and what we should do. With that in mind, two things seem clear. 1) The current crop of political, financial, and media elites are ensconced in a bubble, carelessly indifferent to the problems of ordinary people—much like Marie Antoinette was. 2) Anger is building up as people feel increased economic pain. Nobody knows how the situation will resolve itself, but I think it would be foolish not to prepare yourself—and your portfolio—for turbulence in the months ahead. *  *  * The economic trajectory is troubling. Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the course of these trends in motion. The best you can and should do is to stay informed so that you can protect yourself in the best way possible, and even profit from the situation. That’s precisely why bestselling author Doug Casey and his colleagues just released an urgent new PDF report that explains what could come next and what you can do about it. Click here to download it now. Tyler Durden Sat, 05/21/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 21st, 2022

How decommissioned cruise ships could be given a new lease of life as affordable housing for Miami residents

The concept, designed by CallisonRTKL, aims to tackle the oversupply of cruise ships and address a lack of affordable housing in Miami. A rendering of a repurposed cruise ship into affordable housing.CallisonRTKL A Washington-based architecture firm is looking into the possibility of repurposing cruise ships.  The ships could be transformed into affordable housing, architect Abe Desooky told Insider.  The concept aims to tackle the oversupply of cruise ships and provide affordable housing in Miami.  The cruise industry has encountered plenty of difficulties in recent years, largely due to the coronavirus pandemic. One that is yet to be resolved is the growing number of ships that have been decommissioned as a result of halted travel.In September 2020, Carnival Cruises announced plans to sell 18 less efficient ships. This would have generated a 12% reduction in capacity, according to its press release.  According to Reuters, the business of cruise-ship dismantling was also up 30% in 2020 in Aliağa, Turkey, as ships were being pulled apart for scrap metal sales. CallisonRTKL, a Washington-based architecture firm, however, may have found an opportunity to reuse these inactive ships for a broader purpose: affordable housing. Architectural designer Abe Desooky told Insider he conducted a recent study to explore the possibility of taking advantage of decommissioned ships' oversupply as a primary housing structure in Miami. "Currently, we are seeing cruise ships being decommissioned at one of the highest rates in history, and simultaneously there is a growing lack of affordable housing in the Miami area," Desooky said. As part of the research study, Desooky said 362 Miami residents were surveyed about whether they were interested in living in a coastal housing scenario. According to their findings, 88% of respondents were interested in the concept,  with those aged between 41 and 50 being the keenest. According to Desooky, Miami was already quite expensive for the income that residents had in 2020, fueling the need for affordable housing. Per the findings, 53% of the Miami population pays more than 30% of their monthly household income in housing costs. "The issue is only growing, it's not decreasing over time," Desooky said. When designing the ship, Desooky said it was important to bear some amenities in mind. This included infrastructure for parking, given how Miami is a car-heavy city, which would sit below deck.  One notable finding from the survey was respondents' preference for natural light in their bedrooms on the cruise ships, instead of a living room. This prompted the inclusion of a courtyard in the middle of the ship as part of the design.The inclusion of plants would be opportune for the residents, he added. Each room, referred to as units, would be designed for one person, Desooky explained. But there is flexibility to combine rooms to house families.About 900 units would be able to fit in the ship and each unit would cost $1,250 per month.Desooky said the firm has spoken to large cruise companies about the concept. "They were thinking of housing construction workers who are working on private islands and need housing — they could use decommissioned ships to dock there and create temporary housing."As it stands, the plan founded by CallisonRTKL is not a business proposal but more of a research study. "Maybe potentially down the road, this concept might come to fruition," Desooky said.  "As we move closer to environmental decay and climate change, cities like Miami need to start coming up with solutions that are atypical and so I think taking decommissioned ships and not just using them for hospitality is something that should be happening now," Desooky added.          Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 26th, 2022

Buying a House Feels Impossible These Days. Here Are 6 Innovative Paths to Homeownership

A dozen Grade-A eggs will run you about $0.40 more than they did a year ago, and you’ll have to fork over $0.66 more for a pound of ground beef. At the gas pump, a gallon of unleaded is now $1.23 higher than it was in 2020. But few year-over-year price increases compare to what’s… A dozen Grade-A eggs will run you about $0.40 more than they did a year ago, and you’ll have to fork over $0.66 more for a pound of ground beef. At the gas pump, a gallon of unleaded is now $1.23 higher than it was in 2020. But few year-over-year price increases compare to what’s happened to the American housing market. The sale price of a median home in the U.S. has ballooned by more than $67,000 in the past year, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis — surging from just under $338,000 to nearly $405,000. There’s lots of reasons for this. In the past year, a combination of low interest rates and COVID-19, which forced tens of millions of people to work from home, fueled demand for houses. Longtime renters began looking to buy a place with more space, while those who were already homeowners began looking for secondary vacation residences. (Mortgage applications for second homes spiked 84% between January of 2020 and 2021.) [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] That jump in demand was compounded by a nationwide slump in housing supply—the result of both nationwide labor shortages and disruptions in the supply chain of crucial building materials, like copper and lumber. These recent issues have been exacerbated by lags in new housing construction over the past twenty years, according to a June report from the National Association of Realtors. The end result is that millions of American families across the income spectrum are now effectively locked out of homeownership. The problem is particularly acute for young people and people of color. The homeownership rate among millennials, ages 25-34, is 8 percentage points lower than it was for both baby boomers and Gen Xers in the same age cohort. Black homeownership, meanwhile, remains at just 45%—30% lower than that of white families and nearly unchanged since 1968, when overt housing discrimination was outlawed. It’s more than just a housing dilemma. Since home ownership remains the best way for an average family to accrue wealth over a lifetime, it’s a prosperity issue, too. Homeowners in the U.S. have, on average, forty times more wealth than renters, according to a September 2020 report from the Federal Reserve. In light of this crisis in home ownership, here are six ways that communities and companies around the country are legislating and innovating to help Americans buy a house. 1. A narrow case study in reparations for Black families Like most cities in the U.S., Evanston, Illinois has a long history of racist housing laws. For decades, Black residents were segregated into poor neighborhoods where occupancy rates were estimated to be 150% and some units lacked crucial amenities, like heating. While hundreds of vacant homes were available in more desirable parts of town, landlords and real estate agents explicitly barred Black families from renting them, and banks blocked Black families from financing. “Owners and agents of vacant property plan to prevent the negroes from spreading from their own quarters,” a 1918 Evanston News-Index article read. Housing segregation fueled wealth inequality: Black families in Evanston earn $46,000 less than their white counterparts on average. Former Evanston Alderman Robin Rue Simmons sought to address that sordid history. While in office in 2019, she created the first-ever taxpayer-backed reparations fund in a U.S. city. It sets aside $10 million in revenue, raised by the city’s tax on recreational marijuana, over a 10-year period. The first $400,000 out of that reserve will go to victims of racial housing discrimination and their descendants, divided up into $25,000 grants which can be used this year for down-payments on new homes, mortgage payments or renovations on existing homes. That initial $400,000 will hardly solve the problem. There are more than 12,000 Black residents in Evanston and the initial outlay will provide just 16 households with funding. But, Simmons argues, “it’s better than zero”—and the program also sets a key precedent. In the years since Evanston stood up its reparations fund, several other locales, including Detroit, Michigan and Amherst, Massachusetts, have voted to explore or start similar programs. “If you think of any significant, transformative national or federal legislation, it started with localities and grassroots efforts organizing and pushing their local leaders,” Simmons says. “This is no exception.” 2. Community Land Trusts: Buying the home but not the land The most unique part of the two-story home in Winooski, Vermont that Sarah and husband Colin Robinson bought for $172,000 in 2008 wasn’t its quaint terrace garden or the funky bunk-room upstairs. It was the fact that the Robinsons didn’t own the land that it was built on. That’s because the house is part of what’s known as a community land trust (CLT)—a non-profit, community-controlled collection of properties. The first CLT in the U.S. was created in Albany Georgia in 1969. Now there are more than 220 nationwide, offering more than 12,000 homes total. While the particular rules of each CLT are a little different, the idea is the same: aspiring homeowners share the cost of purchasing a house with the CLT, which owns the land the home is built on. When the homeowner sells, he or she returns a share of the appreciation with the CLT. Champlain Housing Trust—the CLT that helped the Robinsons become homeowners—is the largest in the country, with 636 properties in the Burlington area. Under its rules, the purchase price of an average home is offset by about 30%, and upon selling, the homeowner keeps a quarter of the home’s appreciation price, plus the cost of any major renovations invested into the property. The average Champlain Housing Trust member keeps their home for 7.5 years and walks away $25,000 richer—money that they can then put toward purchasing more expensive homes on the regular market. A 2010 Urban Institute analysis of Champlain Housing Trust, founded in 1984, found that 68% of those who left CLT went on to purchase market-rate homes. The Robinsons are a model of how it’s supposed to work. When they sold their first, CLT home in 2014, they walked away with $40,000 in equity, which they rolled into the purchase of their second home on the regular market. “We were able to bring that money with us, and that was really what made it possible,” says Sarah. “It really changed the trajectory of our lives.” 3. Zoning overhaul: Ending de-facto redlining Nowhere in the country is the racial housing gap wider than in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where more than 70% of white families own, compared to just 20% of Black families, according to a 2021 Urban Institute report. One big reason for this disparity is an insufficient supply of affordable homes: the state is 40,000 housing units short of demand, according to a Minnesota Housing Finance Agency estimate. Restrictive zoning rules built on decades of discriminatory policies worsen this shortage. After the federal government outlawed explicit racial housing discrimination in the 1960s, local lawmakers scrambled to bolster different regulations—namely single-family zoning ordinances that would maintain the homogeneousness of their neighborhoods. Under those rules, construction companies were banned from building anything other than standalone homes—including more affordable row homes, condominiums, duplexes, triplexes—in most upscale neighborhoods, which had the effect of pricing Black and brown families out of the market. Lisa Bender, president of Minneapolis’ City Council, argues that changing those rules is “the very bare minimum first thing” that policymakers can do “to fix centuries of racial exclusion.” In 2018, she spearheaded a City Council effort to rescind regulations reserving 70% of the city’s residential land for single-family zoning—a move that could effectively triple the housing supply in some Minneapolis neighborhoods by prompting construction of new, more cost-efficient multi-family units. The rule change went into effect in 2020. Portland, Oregon and the entire state of California have since enacted policies that effectively end single-family zoning too. Most Popular from TIME 4. 3D printing: Construction meets environmentalism and efficiency Jason Ballard, who grew up in an oil-soaked East Texas town, was always interested in environmental sustainability. But it wasn’t until college that he realized the best way he could explore environmentalism was not by becoming a biologist, but by becoming a builder. “Buildings are the number one user of energy. Construction is the number one producer of waste,” he says, adding that construction is also one of the top users of water behind agriculture. In 2017, he cofounded ICON, a construction technologies company that builds affordable, structurally sound, environmentally resilient single-family homes using a 3D printing method that creates far less waste than traditional building processes. While the startup is just getting off the ground—its first four homes sold this year—its cost of construction appears to be 10-30% less than traditional builders, thanks largely to reductions in labor and supply needs. In October, ICON announced a project to use its technology to break ground on 100 homes in the Austin area in 2022, creating the largest community of 3D-printed homes to date. Ballard predicts costs will continue to decrease as ICON automates more components of the construction process. The method also has the potential to be unbelievably speedy. While constructing an average American home the normal way takes 7.7 months, according to a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau survey, a Boston-based 3D printing construction company, Apis Cor, says it can make a move-in ready three-bedroom, two-bath in less than a month. Illustration by Wenjia Tang for TIME 5. Modular housing: building houses like Henry Ford built cars There’s no way that Sara and Jon Comiskey, both in their mid-20s, would have been able to afford a house in the Buena Vista area of Colorado, where median home prices hover around $515,000, if it wasn’t for a start-up called Fading West. In 2016, Fading West began building homes that were constructed off-site, in a factory, streamlining the production in the same way that manufacturers build cars. Workers complete most components of a house—house siding, flooring, and walls—at scale, then attach them to a foundation on site. Final features, like garages and porches, are added once the home is at its final resting place, says Fading West founder Charlie Chupp. “You wouldn’t build a Camry in someone’s driveway,” he says. Why do it for a house? Chupp says his company’s lean production model reduces waste by eliminating weather-related damage to materials like is typical during outdoor construction, requires fewer skilled laborers, and significantly reduces the time required to make a home. “With 100 people on a traditional system, you might be able to build between 100 and 150 homes a year,” he says. “We think we can do between 600 and 700 homes a year.” There are downsides. The need to transport the house components from factory to foundation curtails how large the end-product can be, and the standardization of the process means homeowners must accept limited design options. Customers get two cabinet choices, three tile options, three window sizes, and one color carpet. “We offer a standard quartz countertop in any color you want,” Chupp jokes, “as long as it’s white.” But Chupp also offers something that many other real estate developers don’t: affordability. He estimates his off-site produced houses are at least 25% cheaper than comparable models in the area. In April 2021, the Comiskeys bought a 900-square-foot Fading West townhouse in Buena Vista for $240,000. 6. Divvy: A fresh take on rent-to-own Adena Hefets grew up listening to her parents’ stories of how difficult it was for them to purchase a home in the early 1980s. As an immigrant from Israel, her dad didn’t have an established credit score and so couldn’t get a mortgage. Eventually, her family was able to buy a seller-financed home—a rare home-buying mechanism where a seller allows a buyer to pay for a home in increments, rather than making mortgage payments to a bank. In 2017, Hefets started Divvy, a tech company, that offers prospective homebuyers a very similar model. Divvy purchases homes on the open-market and covers closing costs, taxes, insurance and repairs in exchange for the client paying monthly rent that is approximately 10-25% more than what they would pay for comparable rentals in the area. The differential goes toward equity in the home. The client can then buy back the home with the equity they accrued through paying the rent, or cash out the equity at the end of their lease. It’s not a universal solution. Divvy requires that buyers have moderate credit scores and clients must be able to pay above market-rate rents. But in the last five years, the company has entered partnerships with thousands of families, roughly 47% of whom end up purchasing their home back from Divvy. LaCresa Hooks, who works as an accountant, couldn’t find a traditional mortgage because she was working as a short-term contractor. In October 2020, she signed a lease with Divvy and less than a year later, she’d bought back her 3-bedroom, 2-bath Georgia home with bank financing thanks to the equity she accrued. Now, she looks forward to something most people loathe: Paying her mortgage. “I’m building something now,” she says. “With rent, you aren’t building anything. You’re just paying your landlord and that’s it for the next 30 days.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 22nd, 2021

The 4 best space heaters we tested in 2021

After testing eight space heaters for safety, efficiency, and ease of use, these are the best ones to help you stay warm in 2021. Steph Coelho/Insider Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky A space heater can help keep you warm without wasting a lot of energy to heat your entire space. We tested eight space heaters for safety, efficiency, and ease of use to determine the best ones. Our top pick from Lasko heats quickly and efficiently, and the compact size fits any space. Find out more about how Insider Reviews tests and reviews home products. Temperature is incredibly subjective: I see this in my own home where I'm perpetually hot, and my husband is always cold.Space heaters are a good alternative if you need to warm up specific areas of your home. They can reduce friction if you're constantly fighting over the thermostat with your housemates and (building codes permitting) offer you some control over the temperature where the heat is not adjustable. They're also a good solution between seasons when it's not cold enough to turn on whole-house heat and are an obvious choice for garages, RVs, boats, and other places that may not have access to gas-powered heat. In addition to testing portable outdoor heaters and writing our guide to the best patio heaters, I've been testing and reviewing products for nearly half a decade, covering everything from fitness gadgets to kitchen appliances. For almost two months, I put eight space heaters through various tests to see how they would affect the ambient temperature in my home office. I evaluated their performance, ease of use, settings, noise level, and safety features. I also interviewed two experts on space heater safety, which you can read here. Here are the best space heaters in 2021Best space heater overall: Lasko Ceramic Portable Space HeaterBest full-size space heater: Lasko Cyclonic Digital Ceramic HeaterBest high-end space heater: Dyson Pure Hot+CoolBest space heater that's also a fan: Honeywell Versa Two Position Heater Best space heater overall Steph Coelho/Insider The Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater is a practical, no-frills miniature heater with enough juice to turn your chilly home office into a cozy, warm nook of productivity. Pros: Compact, incredibly efficient, easy to use, housing stays cool to the touch, overheat detector Cons: No tip-over safety switch, no temperature display This unit is the first space heater I tested, and I keep coming back to it for my personal use. It's one of the smallest heaters on this list at just about 10 inches tall but pulls a powerful 1,500 watts of power to heat efficiently for its miniature size.There are three settings (low, high, and fan) and an adjustable temperature dial. The temperature dial uses dots instead of specific temperatures, so it took some time to figure out how to adjust the unit to my preferred temperature. I ended up watching a YouTube video. Once I got it working, the heat cycling feature kept me comfortable for hours. It's relatively quiet, and I didn't feel the need to shut it off during Zoom calls. That said, it's not a whole-room heater: The unit only increased the overall temperature in my office by about 3 degrees Fahrenheit in my testing. However, sitting close to the heater, I felt much, much warmer.The heater has cool-touch housing, which didn't heat up during use, but the front grille gets quite hot (though this is common with most space heaters). It'll also shut off automatically if it detects overheating. The manual didn't specify at what temperature this function triggers, and I didn't encounter it during my testing.There's no tip-over safety switch, but the unit is quite stable. I really had to shove it off my desk for it to tip over. I can see myself using this frequently when I'm unwilling to turn on the furnace. It's easy to store and tote around the house. Best full-size space heater Steph Coelho/Insider The Lasko Cyclonic Digital Ceramic Heater is a full-size space heater that takes up minimal space and delivers an effective dose of warmth. Pros: Lightweight, accurate internal thermostat, overheat protectionCons: No fan-only option, no tip-over shutoff This is the model I recommend to my grandfather, who was looking for a space heater for his bedroom. At almost 2 feet tall, it's a full-size floor model, but it is surprisingly lightweight, so it's easy to move around from room to room.The light-up control panel is legible from afar and allows you to choose your desired room temperature, select high or low heat settings, and set a timer. You can also adjust the angle of the airflow if you don't want hot air blowing directly on you. The unit automatically cycles off and on when it reaches the right temperature. This function was accurate when I compared its temperature display to my reference thermometer. It's quiet for such a large machine, and it heats up a room quickly without blowing uncomfortably hot air. On a chilly morning, the heater was able to warm the air by 6 degrees Fahrenheit in under an hour. Unfortunately, this unit doesn't have a fan-only option. While there's a thermal overload detector to prevent overheating, there's no tip-over shutoff.Unlike other space heater models I tried, this model can be placed against a wall because of the way the air enters and exits the machine. Safety experts usually recommend keeping the backside of a space heater clear, but I did confirm that no hot air was blowing out the back of the machine, and it never overheated during use. Best high-end space heater Steph Coelho/Insider The Dyson Pure Hot+Cool's features, like air purifying, app compatibility, and some cooling capability, make it an expansive home appliance that does much more than heat. Pros: Air-purifying feature, all parts stay cool to the touch, 360-degree oscillation, automatically shuts off after nine hours or if overheating is detected, beautiful design, app control, smart assistant compatibility, tip-over switchCons: Onboard display is difficult to read, replacement filters are expensiveThis Dyson unit is ultra-fancy. It's a full-size heater with a unique oblong, donut-shaped design.Set up is straightforward; just click in the filters and plug in the unit. You can use the remote or an app (available on iOS or Android) to control and adjust the airflow speed, oscillation, temperature, airflow direction, and turn on the sleep timer or night mode — a feature that darkens the display and reduces the airflow speed.There's also a "cooling" mode, which is really just a fan. In testing, the cooling mode barely made a dent in room temperature, though the breeze did make me feel more comfortable. The heating function on the Dyson works much better. The room started warming almost immediately, and the heat was effectively dispersed throughout the room. Within the first hour of testing, the temperature increased by 6 degrees Fahrenheit — a welcome bit of warmth on a cold day.The heater has an auto-shutoff that prevents overheating and it will turn off if falls over or detects that the heating mode has been active for more than 9 hours. It's also the only heater where no part of the exterior is hot to the touch, making it safe for use around kids. The air purifier is the main advantage of the Dyson. It adjusts its fan speed to help clear your indoor air, and it was so efficient that it helped prevent keep pet hair and dander from exacerbating my asthma.The Dyson is also, by far, the most expensive space heater we tested. If you're just interested in warming a chilly space, you'll get similar heating power from the cheaper picks in this guide.Read our full review of the Dyson Hot + Cool. Best space heater that's also a fan Steph Coelho/Business Insider The Honeywell Versa Two Position Heater is a space-saving heater with a powerful fan and thoughtful safety features. Pros: Powerful fan, cool-touch housing, overheat protection, unique safety features intended to prevent electrical fires Cons: Noisy, no heat cycling, no tip-over switchThe "two-position" feature of this heater means you can place the unit upright or on its side so you can use it in a variety of spaces and situations. I primarily used it in the upright position and was impressed by how this little rectangular heater warmed my office by 3 degrees very quickly.It uses a fan to push heat around, and the warmth spreads evenly throughout my office instead of being concentrated in one area. Since the heat disperses so well, it didn't leave me sweating while I was waiting for my office to warm, unlike some other models I tried.In addition to being a good feature for dispersing heat, the fan can also keep you cool. While the fan is powerful on its own, this feature does make a fair bit of noise, which I could hear from adjoining rooms. I also appreciated the thoughtful safety features of this space heater. While it doesn't have a tip-over sensor, the unit stays cool to the touch, and the wiring is thermally insulated to prevent the cord from overheating.It also has an overheat sensor and an ALCI plug like those found on many blow dryers, which reacts quickly to shorts like a surge protector does. Overall, it's a great space heater for those who are safety conscious and those who want a product they can also use in warmer weather. What else we tested Steph Coelho/Business Insider All the heaters I tested worked as intended, quickly raising the temperature in my office by several degrees. A few just missed the mark for inclusion in our top picks. Here are the others we tested:What else we recommend and why:Honeywell Uberheat Ceramic Heater: This is a sleek little heater with an attractive aesthetic that looks more like a designer speaker than a space heater. It takes up minimal desk space and has several key safety features like a highly sensitive tip-over switch and an overheat detector. However, the cycling function didn't do a great job at maintaining a consistent temperature. More often than not, I felt uncomfortably hot. The front grille also gets very hot, so I had to be extra careful when handling the unit, though the rest of the housing does stay cool to the touch. Still, if you use the heater without the cycling function, it produces a fair bit of warmth and looks good doing it. It's a great heater for the design-conscious individual. What we don't recommend and why:Taotronics Space Heater: The moderate size of this heater was surprising, especially since marketing photos on Amazon make it look much bigger than it actually is. In reality, it's a little under a foot-and-a-half tall. When I used it on the floor, I felt like only my lower legs were warmed. When I used it on my desk, it was impossible to adjust and check the heat settings while seated, since the controls are at the top of the unit. It's likely why the unit comes with a remote, but it only serves to clutter up my workspace. It heats fine, looks sleek, and swivels, but it's an awkward size and shape for a space heater.Trustech Ceramic Space Heater: Straight out of the box, this unit intrigued me with its streamlined design, but as soon as I put it on my desk, I changed my tune. The heater has an oscillation feature with a spinning disc on the bottom of the unit, but it makes the heater feel unsteady compared to other models I tested. While it does have a tip-over switch, I never quite felt comfortable using this heater because of how wobbly it is. It heats up fine but no better than other heaters I tried and not enough to justify the design concerns.Vornado Velocity 5: This square-shaped heater looked rugged and powerful with its large fan placed prominently on display, but it was surprisingly underpowered. It didn't do a good job of dispersing heat, and I often felt chilly sitting right near it if it wasn't pointed directly at me. The crisp display is one of the most legible of all the heaters I tested, but the built-in thermostat is very inaccurate. Anytime I checked my reference thermometer, the reading on the heater's display was at least 3 to 4 degrees off the mark. Our space-heater testing methodology Steph Coelho/Business Insider In addition to interviewing two safety experts about space heaters, I relied heavily on my experience reviewing heating devices like patio heaters and portable outdoor heaters for this guide. I put all eight space heaters through the same set of standard tests and used a reference thermometer to collect temperature data. Here's what I looked for with each test:Ability to heat: This is the most important function of a space heater. I tested every heater in my 100-square-foot office. I used a reference thermometer positioned on the corner of my desk in the middle of the room. I placed the heaters diagonally from the thermometer — compact units sat on my desk while full-sized ones were placed in the far corner of my office. I tried each heater's various settings and took notes about the accuracy of internal thermostats. I was also looking for how well the heaters could hold the room at my desired temperature — usually around 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit — without blasting me with heat. To the best of my ability, I made sure that I didn't turn on my thermostat throughout testing except when there was a risk of pipes freezing or danger to my parrot's health. Most of the time, testing began when the temperature in my office was hovering somewhere between 60 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit. Time to heat: I used an indoor thermometer and a timer to evaluate how long it took for the space heater to bring the room up to my ideal temperature. Some models operate by blasting heat higher than your target temperature to get the room hot faster, but I found these made me sweaty. Units that were too slow left me shivering a few hours later. Units with an accurate cycling feature received bonus points for maintaining comfort levels in my office. Easy-to-use controls: While safety experts recommend reading the manual cover-to-cover before using a space heater, I tried to figure out the unit on my own before referencing any manuals. I looked for controls that were intuitive and easy to figure out.Size: In a small office, there's not much extra room. Extra points went to units that were powerful but still compact, lightweight, and easy to fit in a confined area. For those who have larger spaces to heat, we did include picks for full-size heaters.Noise: Every space heater made some noise, but some were a bit quieter than others. I docked points from units that I turned off for Zoom meetings or phone calls. Safety features: I verified whether safety features were functional (except for the overheating functions, since that would have presented a safety hazard), including tipping the units over to test for automatic shutoffs. What to look for in a space heater Space heaters convert electricity into heat and contain a fan that helps disperse the heat throughout the room. Most space heaters share a few standard functions, like a power button and high- or low-temperature settings. However, we've found a few key features to consider when shopping for a space heater:Power: Most heaters in our guide have 1,500 watts of power, which is pretty standard for space heaters. More-powerful heaters are usually marketed as "garage heaters" and either need to be hardwired into your electrical circuit or run on a special appliance circuit. Fortunately, a heater with 1,500 watts should be enough to heat a room of about 150 square feet. Heat-cycling function: For comfort and energy efficiency, you'll want a space heater with a heat-cycling function. It allows you to select the desired temperature that the unit then attempts to maintain by cycling on and off when the temperature is above or below the threshold. This is similar to how a built-in thermostat works in your home and prevents you from having to manually turn the unit on and off to maintain comfort levels. Not all cycling features work well, however; our picks above outline models with cycling features that are accurate and easy to use. Size: A small space heater is great for desktop use in a home office, dorm room, or office building. It'll usually heat just the area right around the heater comfortably, which is good enough if you're just looking for a small bubble of personal comfort. A space heater with a bigger footprint has a larger fan, which helps blow air around the room and is ideal for heating large spaces like garages or full rooms. Opt for a full-size heater if you have a lot of space to heat.Safety: We outline more safety features to look for in the section below, but overheat protection is a must. Space heater safety Steph Coelho/Business Insider Space heaters are ultra-convenient, but the safety experts we spoke to said they can also be dangerous if not used properly. According to a 2018 report from the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters cause 44% of US fires due to home heating and 81% of related deaths. Both Matthew Griffith, fire prevention section chief with the Montreal Fire Department, and Dan Mock, brand manager of Mr. Sparky, an electrical services company, said the number one rule for using a space heater is to never leave it unattended. Griffith said customers should look for a space heater that's certified by the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL or ULC in Canada) and has safety features like an auto-shutoff and tip-over switch. Mock also recommends reading the instruction manual cover-to-cover and inspecting the device before running it. It's also a good idea to keep the packaging so you can store the heater and keep it dust-free during the warmer months. Griffith said not to put a space heater too close to walls or flammable materials and keep the backside of the heater clear, as the unit can overheat if blocked.Mock also warns against using extension cords or overloading circuits with these types of appliances.  Space heater FAQs Do space heaters use a lot of power?This depends on what you consider to be "a lot." Most space heaters use 1,500 watts of power. To put that in context, if you were to use your space heater eight hours per day for a month, it would add $50.36 to your energy bill, based on the current average electricity rates.Are space heaters dangerous?When not used properly, space heaters are a serious fire hazard. You can reduce the risk of fire by never leaving the heater unattended, reading the user manual, inspecting the device before running it, and never putting it close to walls or flammable materials.Read the above slide about space heater safety for more info.How long can I keep a space heater on?Modern space heaters have a variety of features that make them safe to use for prolonged periods of time (over hours). However, you should still take the precautions mentioned above and turn the space heater off before you go to sleep.How long do space heaters last?Generally, the length of a manufacturer's warranty can tell you how long an item is expected to last. The space heaters in our guide have warranties of 1 to 3 years, but with proper care, they can last you for more than a decade. The best deals on space heaters from this guide Heating a large house gets expensive. When you spend most of your time in one or two rooms, it's just not worth it. This is where a space heater comes in handy. You can keep your thermostat low while the space heater keeps you warm where you need it most. A good space heater will pay for itself in energy savings, but you can speed up the savings by getting a good deal. It won't surprise you that they tend to go on sale in the spring as the weather heats up. Yet, you can also find deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. For example, the Lasko Ceramic Portable Space Heater was only $10 during one recent Black Friday weekend.If you don't know what to look for when shopping for space heater deals, we have you covered. We've compiled a list of the best deals on the space heaters we recommend.There are currently no deals on our recommended space heaters. Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us. Check out our other winter guides to keep warm Maria Del Russo/Insider The best fire pitsThe best winter boots for womenThe best winter coats for womenThe best winter coats for menThe best beanies Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

Europe"s Energy Crisis Better Wake America Up

Europe's Energy Crisis Better Wake America Up Authored by Peter Driessen via WattsUpWithThat.com, If it doesn’t, activists and governing classes will destroy middle class jobs, families and lives COP-26, the twenty-sixth massive climate control “conference of parties,” goes live in Glasgow, Scotland on Halloween. That’s certainly appropriate, since its primary purpose is to further terrify humanity to “take action” to prevent the “existential threat” of “manmade climate cataclysms.” Thousands of politicians and climate activists will take private jets and limos to the lecture and hector halls – to demand that “commoners” be restricted to one Basic Economy flight every three years, meatless diets, public transportation, and keeping 640-square-foot homes at 65 F all winter and 85 F all summer. Otherwise, they say, countless people will die as our planet “overheats” by up to 4.1 degrees C (7.2 F) by 2100. Real-world science and data provide no support for temperature spikes of this magnitude. But just in time for COP-26, Columbia University concocted a “new study” and “new metric” on the “mortality cost of carbon,” based on these scary computer-modeled temperature forecasts. Bloomberg News gave the death-by-global-warming fable prominent coverage. 83 million people (equivalent to the entire population of Germany) “could be killed” this century by rising planetary temperatures caused by fossil fuel use, it asserted. Nonsense. Modern housing and energy systems enable people to adapt to and survive even the most extreme heat and cold – even in Antarctica, which just experienced the coldest average winter temperatures ever recorded: -61 C (-78 F). Survival becomes far less likely, however, if climate treaties and energy policies prohibit efficient air conditioning and heating, ration them, subject them to recurrent blackouts, or make them harder to afford amid rising oil, natural gas, coal and electricity prices. Yet that is exactly what’s being advocated and implemented. Britain and various US cities and states want to ban natural gas heating and cooking – and replace them with expensive heat pumps and other electric appliances, powered by expensive, weather-dependent wind turbines and solar panels. Meanwhile, energy prices have been skyrocketing in response to Covid recovery and anti-fossil-fuel policies. Climate theory has long held that most 21st-century warming will occur in northern latitudes during winter months. But now we’re now told a warming Arctic could also be causing colder winters, which could endanger far more people than rising temperatures or more frequent heat waves. Actually, far more people die in cold weather than in hot weather or heat waves. In the United States and Canada, cold causes 45 times more deaths per year than heat: 113,000 from cold versus 2,500 from heat. Worldwide, where air conditioning is far less available, some 1,700,000 people die annually from cold versus 300,000 from heat – a ratio of almost 6:1. Energy policies that favor wind and solar over fossil fuels beget “fuel poverty” that can make adequate heating impossible, causing numerous health problems and deaths. Poor, minority, elderly and fixed-income families are most severely and inequitably affected, it found.  Cold homes bring increased risks of respiratory and circulatory problems (including asthma, bronchitis, flu, cardiovascular disease and stroke) and exacerbate existing adverse health conditions. Cold household temperatures also increase depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Already vulnerable groups – young children, older people and those with preexisting health issues – are especially susceptible to hypothermia, more illness and death. Public Health England calculated that one-tenth of all “excess winter deaths” in England and Wales are directly attributable to fuel poverty, and 21.5% of excess winter deaths are attributable to the coldest 25% of homes. 30,000 to 40,000 people died each year in England and Wales since 1990 who would not have perished if their homes hadn’t been so cold, researchers estimated. Adjusted for population, this is equivalent to 165,000 to 220,000 excess American winter deaths per year. In 2017, Germany endured 172,000 localized blackouts; in 2019, 350,000 German families had their electricity cut off because they couldn’t pay their power bills. Coal, oil, natural gas, electricity and home heating costs have risen significantly since those studies were prepared, likely increasing the excess winter death toll markedly. In fact, 2021 European gas prices skyrocketed nearly 600% over 2020 prices, and Rotterdam coal futures soared from $60/ton in October 2020 to $265/ton in September 2021. Energy prices are still rising, affecting jobs and living costs.  Global demand for gas and coal has surged as the world recovers from Covid. British gas production has plunged by 60 % since 2000; Britain and Europe have banned fracking; Putin is playing politics over how much gas it will deliver to Europe; and President Biden has stymied leasing, drilling, fracking, pipelines, and oil and gas exports. Many coal and nuclear power plants have been shut down. Meanwhile, Europe’s heavily subsidized wind turbines generated far less electricity in 2021 due to unfavorable winds. This perfect storm of misinformed policies could bring unprecedented excess deaths as winter sets in. Schools, hospitals and clinics could also be much chillier – and deadlier. At 11¢ per kilowatt-hour (average US business rate), a 650,000-square-foot hospital would pay about $2.2 million annually for electricity. At 25¢ per kWh (UK), the annual cost jumps to $5 million; at 35¢ per kWh (Germany), to $7 million! Those soaring costs would likely result in employee layoffs, higher medical bills, reduced patient care, colder conditions, and more deaths.  Adding to these woes, Citigroup says EU natural gas prices could hit $100 per mcf (per thousand cubic feet or million Btu) if this winter is particularly cold and more Gulf of Mexico hurricanes disrupt production. News outlets report that energy companies supplying six million UK homes face collapse, and several elder care homes have warned that crippling energy bills could force closures, leaving many old and infirm people homeless. Britain’s energy minister has said a “very difficult winter” lies ahead, as gas prices soar amid fear of blackouts and food shortages. Many households “will not be able to cope.” US energy prices remain well below Europe’s, but threats to American families are also rising. The average monthly Henry Hub spot price for natural gas has shot from $1.63 in June 2020 to $5.16 in September 2021. That’s well below the highest-ever price ($13.42 in October 2005) but still ominous. One-third of American households already had difficulty six years ago adequately heating and cooling their homes – and one-fifth of households had to reduce or forego food, medicine and other necessities to pay energy bills. Even before Covid, low-income, Black, Hispanic and Native American families were spending a greater portion of their incomes on energy than average US households. Nearly half of US households that heat with natural gas will spend 22-50% more  this winter than last year, depending on how cold it gets. Families that use electricity, propane or fuel oil to heat their homes will also pay significantly more. Energy-intensive factories may have to cut back hours and production, lay people off, and move operations overseas (where they will continue to burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases). Americans are also being impacted by gasoline prices that have risen more than a dollar a gallon for regular since the 2020 election and recently reached $5.00 per gallon in New York and $7.60 in one southern California town. The overall effect of these anti-fossil-fuel policies on livelihoods, living standards, health and life spans will be profoundly negative. Countless people will perish, many of them cold and jobless in the dark. Under Joe Biden, the United States is already on a trajectory to Europe’s real climate crisis: unaffordable, unreliable energy. That crisis better wake America up. Otherwise, self-righteous activists and governing classes will destroy our American middle class jobs, families – and lives. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/02/2021 - 05:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 2nd, 2021

Futures Slip From All Time High Amid Fresh China, Growth, Valuation Concerns

Futures Slip From All Time High Amid Fresh China, Growth, Valuation Concerns One day after US equity futures hit an all time high, rising to a record 4,590, risk sentiment has reversed and overnight index futures fluctuated and stocks in Europe retreated from a near-record on Wednesday after a flare up in U.S.-China tensions, signs of further regulatory crackdowns from Beijing, a decline in commodity prices, renewed concerns about economic growth and a rise in short-dated U.S. Treasury yields doused the equity market rally on Wednesday. At 7:45 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 27 points, or 0.07%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 2.50 points, or -0.06%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 15.5 points, or 0.09%. Bonds and the dollar gained and bitcoin stumbled. The overnight losses started earlier in Asia, where tech stocks suffered hefty falls after China’s internet watchdog said it planned stricter registration rules for younger net users, while Chinese tech shares slid on concerns about more scrutiny from Washington after the U.S. banned China Telecom’s American business. U.S. futures also turned negative as the bullish mood over Tuesday’s forecast-beating results from Google owner Alphabet and Microsoft started to wane. Shares of energy firms including Exxon and Chevron tracked lower oil prices, while major lenders such as Bank of America slipped on a flattening U.S. yield curve. Microsoft Corp rose 2.1% in premarket trading after it forecast a strong end to the calendar year, thanks to its booming cloud business. Twitter gained 1.4% after the social networking site’s quarterly revenue grew 37% and avoided the brunt of Apple Inc’s privacy changes on advertising that hobbled its rivals. Google owner Alphabet also reported record quarterly profit for the third straight quarter on a surge in ad sales. However, its shares were down 0.6% after rising nearly 59% so far this year. Here are some of the biggest movers today: Microsoft (MSFT US) shares gain 2.2% in premarket after first- quarter results that analysts said were very strong across the board, showing scale and justifying the valuation of the software giant. Alphabet (GOOGL US) rises 1.3% after 3Q earnings earned a mostly positive reception from analysts, with at least three raising their price targets on the Google parent. Twitter (TWTR US) adds 2% amid resilient third-quarter sales at the social media company as it weathers Apple’s new limits on consumer data collection. Enphase Energy (ENPH US) gains 13% after its 3Q results and 4Q forecasts beat estimates. Analysts await more clarity on supply chain constraints. Robinhood (HOOD US) slumps 12% as some analysts cut price targets after the retail brokerage reported 3Q revenue that missed estimates and flagged further weakness in 4Q. Visa (V US) falls 2.4% as analysts flag a disappointing outlook from the payments company. Texas Instruments (TXN US) declined 4% after a forecast that may disappoint some investors who are concerned about a potential slowdown in demand for electronic components. Watch peers for a readacross. Angion (ANGN US) plunges 55% after company said a kidney transplant drug failed to meet primary end points in a phase three trial. European partner Vifor (VIFN SW) slips 6%. “While some prominent earnings misses have clouded the picture, the reality is that on aggregate, the reporting season so far has been very solid,” said Max Kettner, a multi-assets strategist at HCBC Holdings Plc. “Everyone, literally everyone, in the market right now is worried about supply-chain constraints, higher input costs and the like, so headwinds from this side are now very well reflected in near-term earnings expectations.” Concern over more tension between Beijing and Washington also weighed on markets after the U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted to revoke the authorization for China Telecom’s U.S. subsidiary to operate in the United States after nearly two decades, citing national security. “We have good U.S. data in earnings which is very reassuring but valuation is very stretched in both the value as well as the growth sector,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. “And people are also getting a bit hesitant and are a bit worried because the amount of money that is going through will slow down with the Fed slowly starting to taper - but that is not necessarily a bad thing.” MSCI’s global equity benchmark hovered close to Monday’s seven-week high and is on track for the best month in almost a year. However, European stocks softened, led by a 1.6% drop in mining and resource firms in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as prices of raw materials including aluminum and iron ore fell along with crude oil. Germany’s DAX underperformed after Europe’s biggest economy cut its 2021 growth forecast, citing the lingering effects of the pandemic and a supply squeeze. Bund yields dropped along with those on other European bonds. Bank shares also slipped, with Deutsche Bank down more than 5% despite forecast-beating earnings. Europe's Stoxx 600 dropped about 0.3%, weighed down the most by miners and energy firms. FTSE 100 and DAX both down similar amounts. Here are some of Wednesday’s major earnings and corporate news from Europe Deutsche Bank AG dropped more than 6% after disappointing earnings, while Banco Santander SA declined despite a bullish outlook. Heineken NV fell after reporting a drop in demand for beer. BASF SE slipped after flagging dwindling returns on its core suite of chemical products as sputtering global supply catches up with demand. GlaxoSmithKline Plc rose after improving its profit outlook. Dutch semiconductor equipment maker ASM International NV advanced after revenue forecasts beat analyst estimates. Puma SE gained after raising full-year profit forecasts. Temenos AG surged as much as 16% after Bloomberg reported EQT AB is exploring an acquisition of the Swiss banking software specialist. Earlier in the session, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.4% in late afternoon trading, paring an earlier drop of 0.7%, with Tencent, Alibaba and Meituan the biggest drags. Asian equities fell as risk-off sentiment fueled by renewed concerns over Evergrande’s debt woes and an escalation in China-U.S. tensions drove losses in Chinese tech giants. Benchmarks in Hong China and China led declines around the region. The Hang Seng Tech Index plunged as much as 3.9%, the most in over five weeks after Washington moved to ban U.S. business by China Telecom, following previous similar measures against Chinese tech firms including Huawei. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for a greater role by Taiwan in the United Nations, raising objections from Beijing. Chinese tech stocks have been rattled this year by a crackdown amid President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” campaign. There had been signs of a rebound recently, however, as the government signaled it would limit its restrictions. Investor confidence in beaten-down Chinese tech stocks hasn’t been fully restored “so they rush to dump those stocks at any negative news and signs of flow reversal,” said Castor Pang, head of research at Core Pacific-Yamaichi International Hong Kong. “This round of tech rebound has peaked,” he added. Key equity gauges also fell more than 0.5% in Indonesia and South Korea, while Vietnam’s benchmark climbed more than 2%. Japanese equities fell, though they closed off intraday lows, as electronics makers and telecommunications providers drove losses. Auto and chemical makers provided support for the Topix which closed down 0.2%, paring an earlier drop of as much as 0.7%. The Nikkei 225 closed little changed, with a gain in Fast Retailing offsetting a drop in SoftBank Group. Asian stocks were broadly lower, as the U.S. moved to ban China Telecom and amid renewed concern over Evergrande’s debt woes. Meanwhile, Japan Exchange Group said Tokyo Stock Exchange will extend the trading day by 30 minutes in the second half of the fiscal year ending March 2025.  In rates, the 10Y yield is down 1.2bp at 1.595%, trailing steeper declines for U.K. and German counterparts, which outperform by ~3bp as money markets trim expectations for BOE and ECB rate hikes. Long-end Treasuries continued to outperform vs front-end ahead of 5- and 7-year auctions Wednesday and Thursday, as well as month-end rebalancing expected to favor bonds over equities. Long-end yields are lower on the day by ~2bp, front-end yields higher by similar amounts, following selloff in Australia front-end bonds after strong 3Q CPI numbers. 5s30s curve breached 82bp for first time in a year. Gilts flatten further ahead of a revised gilt remit that is expected to report a GBP33b reduction. U.K. 10-year yield falls 5bps to 1.06%, the lowest since Oct. 14, outperforming bunds by ~1bp. In FX, the Japanese yen strengthened ~0.5% against the U.S. dollar, leading G-10 majors and followed by the Swiss franc. All other G-10 peers are red against the dollar, which is up about 0.06%. The fading risk sentiment meanwhile pushed up the safe-haven Japanese yen which rose 0.4% against the U.S. dollar though the greenback in turn held just off a one-week high versus a currency basket. The euro kept gravitating toward the $1.16 handle as overnight plays in the common currency as well as the loonie took the spotlight before the monetary policy meetings by the Bank of Canada and the ECB. The three-month Euro benchmark funding rate fell to -0.556%, matching the record low set on Jan. 6, as excess liquidity hovers near an all-time high seen earlier this month. The pound slipped and the Gilt curve bull-flattened ahead of the U.K. government’s budget announcement. The U.K. is expected to trim gilt sales to GBP33b, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts at primary dealers. Commodity currencies, led by the krone, fell and the Australian dollar erased an Asia-session gain in European hours. The Aussie earlier rallied while Australian 3-year yield surged as much as 24bps to briefly top 1% after core inflation accelerated back inside RBA’s target, and taking its game of chicken with the bond market to new heights. Kiwi trailed most G-10 peers following a record trade deficit. The Offshore Chinese renminbi fell against the U.S. dollar amid heightened U.S.-China tensions. Currency and bond traders were looking to a slew of central bank meetings over the coming week for guidance. Canada is first up at 1400 GMT on Wednesday while the European Central Bank meets on Thursday, when the Bank of Japan also concludes its two-day meeting. The Fed has all but confirmed it will soon start to whittle back its asset purchases, though has said that shouldn’t signal that rate hikes are imminent. Nevertheless, Fed funds futures are priced for a lift-off in the second half of next year. “We updated our Fed call to show a hike in Q4 2022 and four hikes in 2023,” analysts at NatWest said in a note. “The inflation overshoot has been persistent,” they said. “There is (only) so much the Fed can tolerate before reacting ... it feels inevitable that that conversation will be brought up more and more as we go into next year.” Commodities are in the red. Brent crude down about 1.3% back to $85 a barrel, while WTI slips 1.7% to $83. Base metals drop. LME aluminium, copper, and nickel decline the most. Spot gold down $5 to trade around $1,787/oz.  The crypto space tumbled sharply shortly after the European close, pushing Bitcoin below $59,000 and wiping out much of the ETF launch gains. No changes are expected from Tokyo, but traders are expecting the ECB to push back on market inflation forecasts and are looking for hawkish clues from the Bank of Canada as prices put pressure on rates. Policymakers are facing a steady drip of evidence that there is no let-up from pressure on consumer prices. The latest came from Australia, where data showed core inflation hit a six-year high last quarter, raising the possibility of sooner-than-planned rate increases. The Australian dollar jumped after the data but soon pared the gains. Looking at today's busy calendar, we will get preliminary September wholesale inventories, durable goods orders and core capital goods orders from the US. In Europe, Germany November GfK consumer confidence, France October consumer confidence and Euro Area September M3 money supply are due. In central banks, monetary policy decisions from the Bank of Canada and Central Bank of Brazil will be released. On the corporate earnings front, companies reporting include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Boeing, General Motors, Santander and Ford. Elsewhere, the UK government announces Autumn Budget and Spending Review. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,569.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 474.38 MXAP down 0.4% to 199.65 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 656.34 Nikkei little changed at 29,098.24 Topix down 0.2% to 2,013.81 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 25,628.74 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,562.31 Sensex up 0.2% to 61,468.43 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,448.71 Kospi down 0.8% to 3,025.49 German 10Y yield fell 4 bps to -0.157% Euro little changed at $1.1593 Brent Futures down 1.1% to $85.46/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,784.14 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.98 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Chinese authorities told billionaire Hui Ka Yan to use his personal wealth to alleviate China Evergrande Group’s deepening debt crisis, according to people familiar with the matter Germany cut its 2021 growth outlook to 2.6% -- compared with a prediction of 3.5% published at the end of April -- reflecting a scarcity in some raw materials and rising energy prices, particularly for gas, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said Wednesday in an interview with ARD television China plans to limit the price miners sell thermal coal for as it seeks to ease a power crunch that’s prompted electricity rationing and even caused a blackout in a major city last month The SNB stressed that in light of the highly valued currency and the degree of economic slack, expansive monetary policy needs to be maintained, according to an account of President Thomas Jordan’s meeting with Swiss govt Sweden’s National Debt Office is reducing its bond borrowing in both kronor and foreign currency because central government finances are recovering faster than expected from the pandemic, according to a statement A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian markets adopted a downside bias as sentiment waned following the mild gains on Wall Street, in which the S&P 500 and DJIA eked out record closes after easing off best levels. The US close also saw earnings from behemoths Microsoft, Alphabet and AMD - the former rose 2% after blockbuster metrics, whilst the latter two dipped after-market. Meanwhile, Twitter shares rose almost 4% after hours as the Co. highlighted the lower-than-expected Q3 impact from Apple’s privacy-related iOS changes. On the flipside, Robinhood slumped over 8% after reporting a steep decline in crypto activity. It’s also worth noting that Berkshire Hathaway Class A shares - the world’s most expensive shares - are quoted +51% after-market (+USD 223,614.00/shr); reasoning currently unclear. Overnight, US equity futures resumed trade flat before a mild divergence became evident between the NQ and RTY, whilst European equity futures' losses were slightly more pronounced. Back to APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.1%) was buoyed by its tech sector amid the post-Microsoft tailwinds from the US, but the sector configuration then turned defensive, whilst Woolworths slumped some 4% after earnings and dragged the Consumer Staples sector with it. The Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) saw losses across most sectors, with Retail, Insurance and Banks towards the bottom. The KOSPI (-0.8%) conformed to the downbeat mood, whilst Hyundai shares were also pressured amid its chip-related commentary. The Hang Seng (-1.6%) and Shanghai Comp (-1.0%) declined despite another substantial CNY 200bln PBoC liquidity injection for a net CNY 100bln. The Hang Seng accelerated losses in the first half-hour of trade with Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi among the laggards. Meanwhile. PAX Technology slumped 45% after the FBI raided the Co's Florida officers amid suspicion PAX’s systems may have been involved in cyberattacks on US and EU organizations. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid spillover selling from T-notes and Bund futures, whilst the Aussie 3yr yield topped 1.00% for the first time since 2019 as the trimmed and weighted Australian CPI metrics moved into the RBA's target zone. Top Asian News China Agrees Plan to Cap Key Coal Price to Ease Energy Crisis China Tech Stocks Slump as Tensions With U.S. Spook Investors Top Court Orders Probe Of India’s Alleged Pegasus Use Tokyo Stock Exchange to Extend Trading Day by 30 Minutes European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.3%) are trading moderately lower in a session which has been heavy on earnings and light on macro developments. The APAC session saw more pronounced losses in Chinese bourses (Shanghai Comp -1%, Hang Seng -1.8%) compared to peers despite ongoing liquidity efforts by the PBoC with Hong Kong stocks hampered by losses in Alibaba, Tencent and Xiaomi. Stateside, performance across US index futures were initially firmer before following European peers lower with more recent downside coinciding with the US Senate Finance Committee Chairman unveiling a tax proposal focused on unrealised gains of assets held by billionaires and impose a 23.8% capital gains rate on tradable assets such as stocks; ES -0.1%. The US close saw earnings from behemoths Microsoft, Alphabet and AMD - the former rose 2% after blockbuster metrics, whilst the latter two dipped after-market. Meanwhile, Twitter shares rose almost 4% after hours as the Co. highlighted the lower-than-expected Q3 impact from Apple’s privacy-related iOS changes. On the flipside, Robinhood slumped over 8% after reporting a steep decline in crypto activity. In the pre-market, upcoming earnings highlights include McDonalds, Boeing, GM, Bristol Myers and FTSE 100-listed GSK. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly lower with Basic Resources and Oil & Gas names at the foot of the leaderboard amid performance in underlying commodity prices. Banking names are also trading on a softer footing following earnings from Deutsche Bank (-5.4%) which saw the Co. report a decline in trading revenues whilst managing to make a profit for the 5th consecutive quarter. Spanish heavyweight Santander (-2.5%) is also acting as a drag on the sector despite reporting a net profit above expectations for Q3 with some desks highlighting softer performance for its US operations. Elsewhere, Sodexo (+5.6%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 after strong FY results, whilst Puma (+3.2%) trades on a firmer footing after reporting a beat on Q3 earnings and raising guidance. To the downside, BASF (-1.0%) shares are seen lower despite exceeding expectations for earnings with the Co. cautioning that the impact from higher Nat Gas prices in the first nine months of the year amounted to EUR 600mln costs and a significant increase in costs is expected following the October price hike. Top European News Deutsche Bank Falls; Results Fail to Provide Fresh Catalyst BASF Points to Chemical Price Surge Easing as Supply Increases SNB’s Jordan Stressed Need for Loose Policy in Govt Meeting U.K.’s Sunak Set to Cut Tax on Domestic Flights: The Independent In FX, nearly, but not quite for the index in terms of turning full circle on Tuesday and matching the prior week high as it fell just shy at 94.024 vs 94.174 on October 18, while also narrowly missing 94.000 on a ‘closing’ basis with a last price of 93.956. Moreover, month end rebalancing factors are moderately bearish for the Greenback against G10 rivals, and especially vs the Yen that has a relatively large 1.6 standard deviation and appears to be playing out in the headline pair and Jpy crosses on spot October 29. Indeed, Usd/Jpy has recoiled further from yesterday’s peak circa 114.31 to sub-113.60 before taking cues from the BoJ tomorrow and Japanese retail sales in the run up, but decent option expiry interest between 113.55-50 (1.8 bn) may underpin and support the DXY by default within a narrow 94.008-819 band. More immediately for the Buck in particular and peers indirectly, US durable goods, advance trade, wholesale and retail inventories. CHF/AUD - Also firmer vs their US counterpart, as the Franc clambers back above 0.9200 irrespective of a deterioration in Swiss investor sentiment and the growing chance that the SNB could be prompted to respond to a retreat in Eur/Chf from 1.0700+ to 1.0637 or so. Elsewhere, the Aussie has pared some of its post-core inflation inspired gains, but is holding close to 0.7500 and still outpacing its Antipodean neighbour as Aud/Nzd hovers around 1.0500. NZD/CAD/GBP - A downturn in overall risk sentiment and the aforementioned cross headwinds are weighing on the Kiwi that has slipped under 0.7150 vs its US namesake, and it’s a similar tale for Sterling that failed to retain 1.3800+ status or breach 0.8400 against the Euro before the latest reports about France preparing retaliatory measures against the UK over the fishing rights dispute. On top of that, Eur/Gbp tides are turning into month end and the usual RHS flows seen into and around fixings, while the Pound may also be acknowledging a pull-back in Brent prices in advance of the Budget, like the Loonie in respect of WTI ahead of the BoC, with Usd/Cad back above 1.2400 compared to 1.2350 at one stage on Tuesday and a tad lower in the prior session. Note, the break-even via implied volatility indicates a 58 pip move on the policy meeting that comes with a new MPR and press conference from Governor Macklem. EUR - Notwithstanding several gyrations and deviations of late, the Euro seems largely anchored to the 1.1600 mark vs the Dollar and yet more option expiries at the strike (1.5 bn today) may well be a contributing factor as the clock continues to tick down Thursday’s ECB convene that is seen as a dead rubber event in passing ahead of the big one in December - check out the Research Suite for a preview and other global Central Bank confabs scheduled this week. SCANDI/EM - Hardly a surprise to see the Nok recoil alongside crude prices, but the Sek is holding up relatively well in wake of an uptick in Swedish household lending and a big swing in trade balance from deficit to surplus. Conversely, the Try’s stoic revival mission has been derailed to an extent by dip in Turkish economic confidence offsetting a narrower trade shortfall, the Rub and Mxn are also feeling the adverse effects of oil’s retracement, the Zar is tracking Gold’s reversal through 200 and 100 DMAs, and the Cny/Cnh have been ruffled by the latest US-China angst, this time on the telecoms front. Last, but not least, the Brl anticipates a minimum 100 bp SELIC rate hike from the BCB, if not 125 bp as some hawkish forecasts suggest. In commodities, a softer start to the session for WTI and Brent seemingly stemming from the cautiously downbeat tone portrayed by broader risk and continuing to take impetus from last night’s Private Inventory report. For reference, the benchmarks are currently lower in excess of USD 1/bbl and WTI Dec’21 has been within touching distance of the USD 83.00/bbl figure, though is yet to test the level. Returning to yesterday’s crude report which printed an above consensus build of 2.318M for the headline print while the gasoline and distillate components were unexpectedly bearish, posting modest builds against expected sizeable draws. Looking ahead, the EIA release is expected to post a headline build. Aside from this, crude specific newsflow has been limited ahead of next week’s OPEC+ gathering though Iran remains on the radar given the latest release of constructive commentary on nuclear discussions. Albeit, we are still awaiting details on a return to full Vienna discussions. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are softer on the session in a continuation of action seen around this time during yesterday’s session; metals pressured in wake of a choppy, but ultimately firmer, dollar. Elsewhere, China has reportedly agreed to set a price cap for thermal coal sales and comes as part of the ongoing crackdown by China on the commodity which spurred Zhengzhou thermal coal futures to hit limit-down overnight. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Durable Goods Orders, est. -1.1%, prior 1.8%; 8:30am: Durables Less Transportation, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3% Sept. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6% Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Sept. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.2% 8:30am: Sept. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. -$88.3b, prior -$87.6b, revised -$88.2b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s day 42 out of 42 on crutches without any weight bearing on my left leg. Over that period I’ve been hopping, crawling, sliding, and using the crutches as a pole vault amongst other various forms of self transportation. So sadly today is the last day I get waited on. When I wake up tomorrow I’ll try to walk again and fend for myself. Equities threw away their crutches a couple of weeks ago and haven’t looked back. US Earnings have helped and while they aren’t as good as the headline beats suggest, due to big unwinding of reserves for loan loss provisions at the banks, they are notably better than some of the stagflationary gloom stories that dominated in the weeks ahead of this season. A reminder that our equity guys did their state of play on earnings a couple of days back here. Big tech was always going to be the swing factor between a slightly better than normal level of beats and a more aggressive one. Last night Alphabet, Microsoft, and Twitter all reported after hour. Alphabet and Microsoft beat on both sales and earnings, while Twitter’s revenue just missed expectations but traded higher after hours. Of the 41 S&P 500 companies that reported yesterday, 33 beat estimates. For the earnings season to date, 166 S&P companies have reported, with 139 beating earnings estimates. Prior to this, markets continued to stay in their “new normal” of record or cyclical high equity prices and multi-year breakeven highs. Positive surprises for earnings on both sides of the Atlantic helped yesterday as did strong US consumer confidence numbers. Starting with the US, along with strong earnings, a number of positive surprises in an array of economic data yesterday did just enough to push the S&P 500 (+0.18%) and the DJIA (+0.04%) to new record highs, while the Nasdaq (+0.06%) fell short of beating its record set on September 30th. The FAANG Index lagged on the day, dropping -0.33%, but managed new all-time highs intraday. On the other side of the Atlantic, European equities notched solid gains as well, with most major European markets finishing well in the green territory, lifting the STOXX 600 by +0.75% - a fraction below its record high. All index sectors but energy (-0.29%) finished higher on the back of strong earnings early in the session, particularly from UBS and Novartis. Taking a closer look at the aforementioned economic data, October US consumer confidence came in at 113.8 versus 108.0 expected, while the Richmond Fed Manufacturing index rose to 12, beating expectations of 5. In housing, new home sales for September (800k) surpassed estimates (756k) by a decent margin, whereas the August FHFA House Price Index came in at +1.0% versus +1.5% expected. There were further signs of a tight US jobs market as the labour market differential in the Conference Board index improved to 45.0, the best reading since 2000. Similar to Monday, breakevens climbed as real yields fell in the US and Germany. Nominal 10-year Treasuries were -2.3bps lower, while breakevens increased +2.6bps to 2.69%, still just a hair beneath all-time highs for the series. 10-year bunds declined -0.3bps while the breakeven widened +3.0bps. Breakevens took a breather in the UK, narrowing -8.6bps, whilst 10-year gilts were -3.0 bps lower. In Asia, most major indices are down this morning. The Nikkei 225 (-0.61%), KOSPI (-0.92%), Hang Seng (-1.58%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.92%) are all trading lower. Sentiment soured after the real estate saga continued with Chinese authorities asking companies to get ready to repay offshore bonds, while also urging Evergrande’s founder to employ his own wealth to aid the struggling developer. Additionally, in geopolitics, the US Federal Communications Commission banned China Telecom (Americas) Corp. from operating in the US on the back of national security concerns. Data releases from Asia continued to support the inflationary narrative amid rising commodity prices as we saw a +16.3% YoY growth in China’s industrial profits in September, up from +10.1% a month earlier. Meanwhile, Australia’s trimmed mean CPI (+2.1%) came in above expectations (+1.8%), sending the 3y yield higher by +14.5bps. The S&P 500 mini futures (0.00%) is broadly unchanged with the 10y Treasury at 1.622 (+1.4bps). In commodities, oil futures were mostly mixed yesterday, but both WTI (+1.06%) and Brent (+0.48%) managed to rise by the European close, as Saudi Aramco said earlier in the session that oil output capacity is declining rapidly across the world. On the other hand, European weather forecasts that pointed at lower temperatures starting next week did little to propel natural gas prices, which declined both in the region (-0.33%) and in the US (-0.27%). Briefly taking a look at the virus news, The FDA’s vaccines advisory committee voted 17-0 to back jabs for kids ages 5-11. The dose for the younger cohort amounts to one third of the current one given to those over the age of 12, which means that it could be more quickly distributed if the demand is there. The agency will give its final ruling soon, which is expected to follow the panel’s recommendation, and then the shots could be distributed within weeks to schools, pediatricians, and pharmacies. Elsewhere, Singapore will allow fully vaccinated travelers from Australia and Switzerland to enter without quarantine from November 8. In terms of upcoming data releases today, we will get preliminary September wholesale inventories, durable goods orders and core capital goods orders from the US. In Europe, Germany November GfK consumer confidence, France October consumer confidence and Euro Area September M3 money supply are due. In central banks, monetary policy decisions from the Bank of Canada and Central Bank of Brazil will be released. On the corporate earnings front, companies reporting include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Boeing, General Motors, Santander and Ford. Elsewhere, the UK government announces Autumn Budget and Spending Review. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/27/2021 - 07:53.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 27th, 2021

The 5 best electric scooters of 2021

Electric scooters provide a reliable form of transportation no matter if you're commuting to work or running errands. Here are the best we've tested. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Electric scooters are a convenient and fun way to commute to work or run errands around town. The best electric scooters should have a reliably long battery range and travel at speeds of up to 20-plus mph. Our top pick, the Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4, has a dual-battery design that gets up to 28 miles of range. Electric scooters have gone from curious novelties to a bonafide form of transportation thanks to advancements in tech and the rise of e-scooter rental services like Lime and Bird.And I can't overlook the fact they're just plain fun to ride.But more people have also discovered that owning their own is incredibly convenient - I know I have. Whether it's a quick jaunt to the store, a ride to a friend's house, or just commuting from a distant parking lot to the office, there are numerous times when having an e-scooter has proved incredibly handy for me. If you've been considering buying an electric scooter of your own, I highly recommend it. But the most important question to ask yourself before buying is what you plan to use it for - after that, there are plenty of models that stand out from the crowd. To help, I've compiled the following guide of the best electric scooters I've tested, perfect for a variety of people and use cases.I've also included some insight into how to shop for an electric scooter, as well as how I tested each of the scooters featured in this guide. Here are the best electric scooters of 2021:Best overall: Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4Best on a budget: Gotrax XR UltraBest for commuters: Xiamoi Mi M365 Best for performance: Outstorm Maxx Ultra High-SpeedBest for kids: Razor E100 How I test electric scooters Each of the electric scooters in this guide went through a series of tests to determine how well they compared against these four categories: Range, portability, versatility, and value. Here's how I specifically considered each category while testing:Range: Most electric scooters are defined by the range they're capable of delivering, and this is the top factor to consider. To test this, we compared the on-paper range to how it fared in real-world tests. Where range begins to take a hit on almost every model is when you start riding uphill or traveling at its top speed for extended periods of time (and we've noted in the review of each model where this was the most significant).Portability: Being able to easily transport a scooter is a vital consideration for anyone living in an apartment building or someone who plans on commuting part of the way on a scooter. Portability means not just how much it weighs but whether it folds up and is easy to carry. Versatility: Versatility also means that a scooter can handle a wide range of uses, from fun rides to commuting to running errands. Judging a scooter's versatility meant seeing if it was capable of operating outside of its typical use case (within a set of safe parameters, of course).Value: Value is a combination of the three categories above and how it relates to what it actually costs. This can often mean that it's better to spend a little more on a quality scooter designed to last and function properly, as opposed to spending less on something you'll need to replace more often.  The best electric scooter overall Segway For excellent all-around performance, including good range and speed, the Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4 is a great option for riders looking for a versatile, easy-to-use model.Pros: Up to 28 miles of range on a single charge, features a dual-battery design, large wheels allow for very minimal offroad travel, speeds up to 18 mphCons: Long battery recharge timeThe Ninebot KickScooter by Segway ES4 has been on the market for several years and yet, it remains one of the top all-around models. Not only does it offer a solid and accurate range of 28 miles on a single charge, it can also hit top speeds in excess of 18 mph.That level of performance is due in part to its dual-battery design. Equipped with both a built-in and removable power cell, the ES4 provides good versatility when it comes to staying charged, too. The ES4's solid 8-inch wheels allow it to roll over large obstacles and provide a smooth ride on a variety of surfaces. Front and rear shock absorbers increase the level of comfort and help smooth out your commute. That's especially important when zipping along at top speed, which tends to amplify every bump in the road. Fortunately, the ES4 offers a relaxing and fun ride across a variety of terrain.Other nice features include a front-facing LED light, as well as user-customizable lights on the side and undercarriage to aid in visibility in lowlight conditions. A small, but easy to read, LCD screen displays current speeds and the battery's charge level, while electric and mechanical braking systems allow for a good sense of control. This model even folds down nicely for easy transport and comes with IPX54 water resistance for use in poor weather conditions. Because the ES4 uses two batteries to keep it running at such a high level, it takes a little longer than some other models in this guide to recharge. It can take more than six hours to power this scooter up to its full capacity, which can require a bit of planning depending on your needs. The ES4 can function as a traditional kick scooter in a pinch, though. Although there are other options that cost less, few of them offer the same level of performance and convenience in such a well-designed package as the ES4. The best budget electric scooter Amazon The budget-friendly Gotrax XR Ultra electric scooter provides good speed and range, along with more than few unexpected features, without putting a major dent in your wallet. Pros: Inexpensive, weighs 27 pounds, sturdy tires, has both disc and electric brakesCons: Limited featuresWhile the top end of the electric scooter market continues to push the envelope in terms of speed, range, and portability, many of those models remain too expensive for the general consumer. As with most products, however, the technology eventually trickles down to price points that are more palatable to the general public, delivering a lot of bang for the buck in the process. Such is the case with the Gotrax XR, a budget e-scooter that offers a level of performance that will meet most people's needs, without making them feel buyer's remorse afterward. The XR Ultra's top speed of 15.5 mph and a max range of 17 miles seems unimpressive when compared to other–more expensive—competitors. But its sub-$400 price tag makes this model a much more approachable option for those looking to dip their toe in the e-scooter waters. Put in other terms, this is the Toyota Camry of electric scooters. It is affordable, reliable, and offers good performance–just don't compare it to a Mercedes S Class. One of the best elements of the XR Ultra is its very smooth and comfortable ride. This scooter glides along at a steady pace, its 8.5-inch inflatable tires rolling over most obstacles with ease. The XR's folding frame and 27-pound weight should make it a favorite amongst budget-conscious commuters as well. In an effort to keep costs down, Gotrax didn't including any kind of suspension, however, which means this model performs best on smooth, paved surfaces. That isn't to say that the XR Ultra doesn't have a good feature set. The scooter comes with both a disc and electric braking systems with regenerative properties. It also includes a bright LED headlight and an LCD screen that displays speed, distance, battery life, and a number of other items. An integrated kickstand is a nice touch, as is the IP54 water resistance rating too. While I think the Gotrax XR Ultra is the best budget e-scooter on the market, it should be noted that there are plenty of other models that are available at a lower price. With those other options, you'll more than likely find yourself having to make compromises in terms of speed, range, and weight in order to save a little cash. The XR Ultra doesn't have any of those glaring compromises, bridging the gap between a truly budget scooter and the more expensive higher-end quite nicely. The best electric scooter for commuters Amazon Lightweight and capable of folding down to a surprisingly small size, the Xiaomi Mi M365 is an electric scooter built specifically with commuters in mind. Pros: Folds down for easy portability, weighs 27 pounds, comes standard with front and rear taillightsCons: Only rated to carry riders up to 220 poundsWhen selecting an e-scooter for use as a daily commuter, I want something that's lightweight and easy to carry around, without compromising on performance. That's exactly what I found in the Xiaomi Mi M365, which manages to provide 18.6 miles of range and a top speed of 15.5 mph while tipping the scales at a shade over 27 pounds. Add in a small battery charger and the ability to fold down to a smaller size and the M365 is easy to recommend to anyone who places an emphasis on portability. And don't let that lightweight fool you, it still has plenty of features packed into its design. For instance, it comes with front and rear lights, wide shock-absorbing tires, and an LED indicator for battery life. It also has a regenerative braking system that feeds power back into the battery, as well as a companion app for customizing settings and tracking distance, speed, and other metrics.This scooter even has a power-saving mode that helps extend the range by limiting the rate of acceleration and its top speed. Turning that mode on also makes the M365 more accommodating to beginners. It's clear Xiaomi put a lot of thought into making the M365 easy to use. This is especially evident in its folding mechanism, which allows it to shrink down to a more compact size in under three seconds. I appreciate that simplicity when entering and exiting trains, climbing stairs, riding elevators, or even taking the M365 in and out of a car trunk. While folding e-scooters are hardly a rarity, the speed and fluidity at which this one operates is a great feature.In order to achieve the M365's relatively low weight, Xiaomi used a minimalist design and a lightweight aluminum frame. Because of this, the scooter is only rated to carry riders weighing up to 220 pounds. The frame itself is plenty durable and can certainly support someone who exceeds that weight limit, but a heavier passenger cuts into performance, reducing both its range and speed.Weight limit aside, the Xiaomi Mi M365 is in a class by itself when used as a daily commuter. Lightweight and easy to carry, it offers a good blend of range and speed and delivers a smooth ride. The best electric scooter for performance Amazon If you're in the market for a fast scooter with long-range, the Outstorm Maxx Ultra-High-Speed is exactly what you're looking for. Pros: Up to 52 miles of range and speeds to 56 mph, maximum weight capacity of 485 pounds, can ride on gravel, dirt trails, and in sandCons: Extremely heavy at 100 poundsWhen moving up to the performance level of the e-scooter market, prices can increase substantially. While the models found at the top end of the scale are indeed fast and powerful, they can also cost several thousands of dollars. The Outstorm Maxx Ultra-High-Speed flirts with a $2000 price tag but ultimately delivers a lot of bang for the buck, striking an intriguing middle ground when it comes to performance and cost. So, what exactly does a performance scooter at this price point have to offer? In the case of the Maxx, it provides a top speed of 56 mph and a range of up to 52 miles. This is achieved thanks to its dual motors, which can produce as much as 3200 watts of power at their highest level of output. It also allows the scooter to carry a maximum weight of 485 pounds and ride not only on paved surfaces but also on dirt trails, gravel, and sand. The Maxx does well on hills too, powering up steep inclines without missing a beat. This scooter features three different speed modes and two power modes, which made it easy to find a good balance between speed and range. A digital readout prominently displays how fast the scooter is currently moving and shows battery life and distance traveled. A regenerative braking system helps feed energy back into the battery throughout the ride, while a bright LED headlight makes riding at night much safer as well. The Maxx also features a hydraulic shock system, 11-inch tires, durable running boards, and electronic cruise control. Of course, all the high-performance components used in the Maxx's construction come at the expense of weight. This model weighs in at a whopping 100 pounds, which means it isn't an especially good choice for commuting. Yes, it can fold down to a smaller size for ease of storage, but that doesn't make it any easier to lift or move around when the battery is dead. Thankfully, with its large 60V power cells, it doesn't run out of juice all that often. In terms of performance scooters, the Outstorm Maxx Ultra High Speed is a relative bargain, offering plenty of speed and range in an attractive package. But it also provides a smooth, comfortable ride as well, both on and off-road. Because it falls into the pricier end of the market, it definitely isn't a model for most people. Riders who are willing to pay the extra money will find that it more than delivers on its promise of exhilarating two-wheeled thrills. The best electric scooter for kids Amazon Built with kids in mind, the Razor E100 is stable, comfortable to ride, and easy to control, while managing to remain nimble and fun. Pros: Offers a stable ride perfect for kids to learn on, easy to maneuver, favors safety over performanceCons: Limited long-term durability, 26-pound weight could be a lot for kids to carry, not many featuresRazor has been designing scooters—both electric and kick models—for a variety of age groups for years. Over that time, the company has learned that the features that you look for in an adult model are quite different than those for kids. While speed and range are of the utmost importance to the former, safety and stability are the chief concerns for the latter. That design philosophy is evident with the E100, an e-scooter that is sure to delight younger riders. The E100 provides a top speed of 10 mph and offers a ride time of about 40 minutes between charges. Yes, the range of this model is measured in minutes rather than miles, which is another departure from the adult scooter market. Forty minutes of continous use is a fairly long time by kid standards, however, providing a reasonable amount of range before the battery runs dry. With its 8-inch pneumatic front tire, the E100 provides a nice, smooth ride. Coupled with the scooter's rear-wheel-drive system, this shifts much of the weight to the back, enhancing stability and balance as a result. Hand brakes and a thumb throttle make learning to ride quick and easy too, making this a scooter even younger kids will feel comfortable on quite quickly. As with any product designed for kids, long-term durability is always in question. To alleviate those concerns, Razor used a steel frame in the construction of the E100, giving it a very solid feel overall. Those materials do end up adding some weight to the scooter, which tips the scales at 26 pounds. By adult e-scooter standards, that is quite svelte but younger kids may find the E100 unwieldy to lug around.  Compared to most electric scooters designed for adults, the Razor E100 doesn't have a lot of features and amenities. Still, thanks to its ease of use and uncomplicated design, kids will find this model a lot of fun to ride around. After all, their goal isn't to commute to and from the office but to ride with friends and enjoy some time outdoors. For that, this is a wonderful choice. How to shop for an electric scooter As the electric scooter market has grown and diversified, there are now a number of categories that help to define it. The most obvious of those categories is whether or not a specific model is designed with kids or adults in mind.Those made for the younger crowd tend to be smaller, less expensive, and slower. They often have less battery life as well, which translates to a shorter range. Conversely, adult scooters are built for, well, adults, and as such, they are larger, faster, and heavier. They also tend to be more expensive. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to choosing an electric scooter, price is one of the major defining factors. At the lower end, you'll find budget models that come with less expensive components, smaller batteries, and slower top speeds. Mid-tier e-scooters typically fall into the commuter segment and offer a nice blend of range and speed, with prices reflecting those upgrades.At the high-end of the market, you'll find performance models that can potentially cost more than $1,000 but are also quicker, more nimble, and have a longer range than their competitors. RangeWhen shopping for an e-scooter of your own, there are some important specifications that you'll want to keep in mind. Probably the most important of those specs is the range a scooter offers. Each scooter manufacturer offers an estimated range for a given model, which is defined as the distance it travels on a single charge. That distance is directly impacted by the size of the battery, the weight of the rider, and the surface type of surface that it is ridden on.The outside temperature can also have an impact on the range, with colder temps drastically reducing the life of the battery. In real-world conditions, you can expect to ride anywhere from 10-40 miles before having to recharge.SpeedAnother defining characteristic of an e-scooter is its top speed. Its actual number varies greatly depending on the model and manufacturers will often boast of speeds in excess of 25 or even 30 mph, although in practice those numbers aren't always accurate.The size of the motor and battery, along with the weight of the rider, each have an impact on the level of performance. This results in many scooters cruising along in the 5-10 mph range, particularly when not riding on a flat, even surface. Still, shoppers are encouraged to consider the top speed of a model very carefully. A faster model may seem more fun, but it can be much more challenging to control. Quicker acceleration and more power can come in handy, particularly for commuters, but safety should be a primary concern as well.Inexperienced riders are encouraged to choose slower, more stable options while still learning to ride. Additionally, faster scooters also tend to burn through their battery life more quickly, reducing range as result. Portability and weightIf you're the kind of owner who plans to just keep your scooter in the garage and only ride it around the neighborhood, then portability probably isn't something you're all that concerned with.Those who plan to use a scooter for commuting should pay close attention to its weight. Lugging it on and off the subway, or up and down several flights of stairs, can be quite a challenge, especially if your particular model wasn't built with that in mind.As with buying a bicycle, the components used in manufacturing an e-scooter have a direct impact on how much it weighs. Budget models tend to have smaller batteries and motors, which of course weigh less than their larger, more powerful counterparts. However, the other components found on these types of scooters often weigh quite a bit more, which keeps the price down but pushes the weight up.More expensive models tend to have a more powerful drivetrain but are made from high-quality, lighter components. The result tends to be a scooter that costs more, performs better, and is easier to carry around. Some electric scooters that have been specifically designed with commuters in mind may even offer the option to collapse down to a smaller size for ease of transport. Scooters that fold up and can be stored in a carrying case or bag have become so common that they now fall into a category entirely of their own.Usually, these types of scooters sacrifice some performance for improved portability, making them very compelling options for those placing a high value on convenience rather than speed or range. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 7th, 2021

The 6 best treadmills of 2021

An at-home treadmill allows you to improve your cardio, keep fit, and stay healthy. Here are the best treadmills we've tested this year. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Treadmills offer an excellent way to increase or maintain your routine cardio and keep fit. The most important qualities to look for in a treadmill are its power, reliability, and run comfort. Our top pick, the ProForm Pro 2000, features iFit workouts, has a cushioned tread, and easily folds up. Few exercise machines have endured the changing landscape of at-home fitness like the treadmill. Not only do they work well for anyone maintaining cardio fitness but they also help runners prepare for things like 5Ks or half marathons. They can even complement a weekly workout routine, especially for those who don't have time to run outside.Treadmills are also simple to use. You simply run or walk on the belt and a motor moves it under your feet at whatever speed you select. Some offer high-tech features like touchscreen displays and live-streamed classes, while others offer a more basic, just-hop-on-and-run experience.As a frequent gym-goer and the Insider Reviews fitness editor, I've run more miles than I can count on treadmills advanced, basic, or otherwise. For every mile logged on something like NordicTrack's Commercial 2950 or ProForm's Pro 2000, I've logged an equal amount (if not many more) on the standard treadmills found at a local gym - i.e. one without an interactive screen attached to it.I leaned on this experience to comb through and test a number of high-quality treadmills currently available. The following guide features a range of treadmill types at various price points in hopes of helping you find the best option for your fitness needs.You'll also find answers to a selection of treadmill FAQs, as well as some insight into how I tested treadmills featured in this guide. Here are the best treadmills 0f 2021 Best overall: ProForm Pro 2000 TreadmillBest smart treadmill: NordicTrack Commercial 2950Best on a budget: Horizon Fitness T101-04 TreadmillBest upright folding model: LifeSpan TR3000i Folding TreadmillBest compact: Cubii ProBest for quiet workouts: 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill How I test treadmills Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Each treadmill featured in this guide went through a series of extensive tests (i.e. I ran on them a lot) to see how well they compared across these four categories: Performance, features, quality, and value. Here's how the categories specifically factored into which treadmills made the cut:Performance: How a treadmill performs comes down to a few basic aspects, including how comfortable it is to run on (and how shock absorbing it is), if it's able to avoid sounding like you're loudly pounding the ground with each step, what its tread feels like underfoot, and how wide the running area is. Though not all treadmills reliably check each of these boxes, a healthy combination of at least three of those often translates to high quality. Features: Some modern treadmills, like those from NordicTrack or ProForm, feature a built-in interactive screen that streams workouts, tracks output metrics, and improves the treadmill's performance. For models that don't have a screen, I looked at how intuitive it was to increase and decrease the treadmill's speed and whether it offered an incline or decline mode. Even those that aren't decked out with the ability to stream workouts are still feature-heavy enough to warrant a spot in your home gym.Quality: If used often, treadmills can take a consistent beating, mostly due to a runner pounding on it step after step after step. This means the best treadmills should feature a sturdy and durable tread, a high-quality design that won't become compromised even after a full year or more of use, and that features an interface or series of buttons and dials that can avoid popping off or being unusable. Value: The value of a treadmill is less about its sticker price and more so the combination of the three categories above compared to its initial (and sometimes recurring) investment. I factored in everything when selecting treadmills across each featured category and often feel that it's worth it to spend a little more money on a product that's designed to last than to spend less, more often on something inferior.  The best treadmill overall ProForm The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a race-trainers dream that's versatile enough for the casual runner, too. Pros: Good motor, large running belt of 22 by 60 inches, includes both an incline and a decline setting, offers good interval training features, has access to iFit workoutsCons: Customer service may be disappointing if you have problems, very heavy treadmillRunners looking for a treadmill with good all-around training capabilities and a host of useful features will like the reasonably-priced ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill. It has a 3.5-horsepower motor, which allows it to stand up to daily use, and it boasts a belt deck that measures 22 by 60 inches, which is perfect for most runners. When you're training for races with hills, you'll appreciate this treadmill's ability to reach a 15% incline and a 3% decline, which better simulates hills than most other treadmills — it's easy to adjust it both up and down, too, even while running. The ProForm Pro 2000 also has a number of tech features, including a 7-inch screen that streams iFit's interactive workouts, a music port for iPods, and a built-in fan that works well to keep you (somewhat) cool as you run. Its tread features what the brand calls ProShox Cushioning, which is designed to lessen the impact on your feet and knees while running. Though a true, long-term test of this would better judge its viability, even a handful of runs on it showed that this made a difference (even if it was minimal). What truly makes this treadmill stand out is its inclusion of the above-mentioned iFit workouts. Not only are these excellent ways to keep motivated, but the platform offers some genuinely unique workouts. One day you could be running through France and the next through Vietnam. The globe-spanning locales add a level of quality to the workouts you'd have a hard time finding elsewhere.Another perk of the iFit workouts is how the trainers leading the runs entirely control the incline, decline, and speed, allowing you to focus strictly on running. This is something that's incredibly welcome as fumbling with a treadmill's controls while in a full stride isn't always the most fun (and can easily mess with your cadence). The ProForm Pro 2000 comes with one free year of iFit, too, so you won't have to worry about shelling out a monthly payment for at least 12 months.Its price is also in the range of what you'd expect to pay for a full-featured treadmill. Most interactive workout machines run in the $2,000 range, and the fact this undercuts that average by a few hundred dollars makes it an appealing choice for anyone looking to add a treadmill to their home gym. The best smart treadmill NordicTrack NordicTrack's Commercial 2950 is a highly versatile treadmill that offers automatic incline control, an HD 22-inch touchscreen, and a deep library of interactive classes from iFit. Pros: Now features automatically adjusting resistance and speed, the iFit library offers a wide range of in-studio classes and runs through real-world locales, offers Bluetooth connectivity and WiFi supportCons: ExpensiveThe Commercial 2950 treadmill from NordicTrack is one of the most full-featured machines I've tested, coming with everything from automatic incline control and Bluetooth connectivity to Google Maps integration and personalized workout stats. My favorite feature, however, is its access to iFit's expansive library of interactive workouts. With iFit, you're able to run essentially anywhere, yet still from the comfort of your home. The service's roster of trainers offers a wide range of run types that aren't just confined to a studio or their home (where they do film some of the classes). Rather, you could be running through real-world locales that offer a breath of fresh air from standard treadmill routines. I found this to be a welcome deviation from the tediousness of normal running. Though iFit does cost $39 per month, a free year of the service comes standard with the purchase of all new treadmills.In addition to those workouts, the rest of the 2950 is a premium. The automatically adjusting resistance feature mentioned above is a game-changer, and, as the name suggests, allows the trainers to fully control the incline, decline, and speed of the treadmill as you run along. All you have to worry about is just running — which does well to keep you focused and motivated instead of worrying about fumbling with controls. One nitpick could be that the iFit interface can be a little clunky and slow to use sometimes, and the service occasionally crashed mid-workout (though did tend to load right back up in the exact same spot I was running). This didn't happen enough to be concerning, nor did it detract from my overall experience. What holds the 2950 back from nabbing the top spot in this guide is its price, which is roughly double the cost of the ProForm Pro 200. It's hard for treadmills that have as much as the 2950 in terms of features and available workouts to cost much less than $2,500, so this is still a worthwhile investment for anyone who  certainly isn't cheap but few treadmills with this much to offer both in terms of features and available workouts will necessarily be "affordable." Still, it's worth the investment for those who want access to a huge library of interactive classes and a premium-built treadmill.  The best budget treadmill Horizon Fitness Compared to other budget fold-up treadmills, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill has nice features and good performance.Pros: Very good price point for an entry-level treadmill, will save space with a fold-up design, runs quieter than most budget-priced treadmills, works better for walkers and light runnersCons: Only a 55-inch belt length, not really made for high-end running workouts, longevity is questionableSaving space with a fold-up treadmill is a great idea for a lot of people. However, most fold-up treadmills don't offer a lot of power.With those natural limitations of fold-up treadmills in mind, you'll like the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill, which works well for walkers and anyone on a budget (and isn't really made for runners looking for high-end workouts). Think of it as like an entry-level treadmill, or something that can be a complement to a wider range of at-home equipment. It has a 55-inch belt length, a maximum 10 mph speed, and a 2.25-horsepower motor. The T101-04 treadmill is easy to fold up for storage, which is great for anyone with minimal space in their home or apartment.You can't beat the value, too. If you want something simple, straightforward, and cost-effective that has the basic features necessary for just running and walking, the T101-04 from Horizon Fitness is the treadmill you need. The best upright folding treadmill LifeSpan The LifeSpan TR3000i uses an extensive shock absorption system to take some pressure off your joints while running.Pros: Good price for a mid-range treadmill, unit folds up to save storage space, extensive shock absorption system, good feature set versus other models in this price rangeCons: Not really designed for high-end workouts, build quality of treadmill is questionableSome people dislike working out on a treadmill because of the pressure it places on their joints. The LifeSpan TR3000i attempts to alleviate some of this pressure by using a shock absorption system in the treadmill's deck.It has a 20 x 56-inch running surface, 15 incline levels, and a 6-inch LCD screen that shows your time, calories, distance covered, steps, heart rate, speed, and incline. The eight shock absorber elements in the deck ensure that it remains both stable and comfortable to run on. As mentioned on other models, long-term testing would be a better indicator of just how well the shock-absorbing works, but it's easy to notice the difference in the TR3000i compared to others. If you at all have foot, knee, or joint issues, you'll want to at least consider this one when shopping.Beyond its shock-absorbing capabilities, the TR3000i has a number of fun features to give you variety in your workouts, too, including a tablet holder, a USB charging port, and compatibility with iPods. It also has built-in speakers, folds up for easy storage, and physical console buttons that are sometimes easier to use when making adjustments than only relying on the touchscreen. The best compact treadmill Cubii The Cubii Pro is an easy-to-use, under desk exercise machine that's more of an elliptical than a treadmill but still allows you to log some quality cardio no matter if you're sitting down for lunch or powering through a backlog of emails. Pros: Small, easy-to-use machine that delivers an effective cardio workout, has up to eight different resistance settings, offers companion app supportCons: Not strictly a treadmill, might not be as intense for hardcore fitness buffsThough the Cubii Pro isn't exactly a treadmill in the traditional sense (and is more of an elliptical style machine than anything else), its unobtrusive nature makes it a convenient addition to anyone's home gym. The machine simply sits on the floor, be it under a desk, next to a coffee table, or literally anywhere around the house, and lets you pedal away for as long as you like. The machine delivers low-impact cardio that may benefit those unable to run on a treadmill due to sore joints, and its quiet operation even allows it to be used while watching TV, talking on the phone, or listening to music. With eight different levels of resistance, it affords as easy or as difficult a workout as you like, too. A companion smartphone application lets you keep track of all your logged workouts and lets you set weekly and monthly goals or share your progress with friends. The app is also compatible with services like Fitbit or Apple HealthKit, so if you prefer the interface of those, all workout data can easily sync to them.At $349, it's certainly not a drop in the bucket but it is far cheaper than even the budget model on this list. For convenient, low-impact cardio exercise, the Cubii Pro is as versatile and easy to use as it gets.  The best treadmill for quiet workouts 3G Cardio The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers excellent performance and runs quieter than most treadmills.Pros: Strong steel frame that will support a lot of weight, unit runs quieter than most treadmills, large treadmill belt area for tall runners, includes a large motor to compare favorably to gym treadmillsCons: Extremely high price point, very heavy equipment that is difficult to move aroundFew treadmills made for use at home will deliver the kind of quiet performance that the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers. It's made for tall or heavy runners looking for a tough workout, but you'll pay more than $3,000 for the kind of quality that this 3G Cardio unit delivers.It has an Ortho Flex Shock suspension system to minimize the stress of impact for runners, and the 22 by 62-inch platform is perfect for running.The 3G Cardio comes with many pre-programmed workouts and a fitness level test. You have access to speed and elevation settings, heart rate control, and workout customization.  This treadmill also has a 4.0 horsepower motor and 3-inch rollers for great performance.As you would expect with a treadmill with such a high price point, the 3G Cardio Elite consists of thick steel tubing in the frame. It's also rather expensive, so this is really only for serious runners who want a treadmill that will last a lifetime. What treadmills I'm testing next Technogym MyRun ($2,980): Technogym's lineup of cardio machines offers a quality experience on par with the likes of NordicTrack and ProForm, though instead of having iFit workouts, it has its own streaming platform called Technogym Live. The classes on the MyRun tread allow users to run with a trainer, take to a digital beach, or develop a set of goals to work toward. Its full-color display not only streams the content in high-definition but also supplies helpful analytic data that inform how well the workout is going. Matrix Fitness Treadmill TF30 XR ($2,999): A premium-priced treadmill, Matrix Fitness' Treadmill TF30 XR is the entry-level version of the TF30 lineup, but it still offers a quality run experience. This model comes with a built-in screen, speeds up to 12.5 miles per hour, and an incline up to 15%. It also folds up to nearly 90-degrees, making it easy to store. Since I live in a small Brooklyn apartment, this one is very intriguing. Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill ($1,599): Sole's F80 tread looks like some sort of Swiss Army Knife of treadmills, as it has a number of visible bells and whistles. There's an on-board screen that tracks distance run and calories burned (among other stats), handle grips for heart rate monitoring, and a tablet holder (for when you'd rather stream Netflix than watch your mileage slowly tick up). This is close to the kinds of treadmills you'd find at your local gym, so I'm curious as to how it'd function as an at-home option.  FAQs What types of treadmills are there?Basic: The most basic type of treadmill only works for walkers. They will have simple tracking features, such as speed, distance, and time. Most basic units will have a short bed that works better for a walker's stride than for running.And you'll find limited shock absorption features here, which isn't great for runners. Such treadmills will fold up for easy storage (although some more expensive treadmills also can fold up for storage).Mid-range: These treadmills will work for walkers or runners. For walkers, a mid-range treadmill should have longer support arms, allowing you to balance yourself easier. The belt bed will be a bit longer than the basic treadmill but those with longer running strides may still struggle.You'll see better tech features in this price range, including a heart rate monitor worn on the chest or pre-set training programs.Top-end: The highest quality of treadmills will contain long belt beds with good shock absorption, making them perfect for runners. To gain these features, such treadmills rarely will fold up for storage, meaning they require a lot of free space. They will deliver greater maximum speed levels and greater levels of incline, too.These treadmills consist of the highest-quality materials. You'll receive Wi-Fi connectivity and extensive pre-set exercise programs with these models.What are some key treadmill features?Interactive exercise programs: Treadmills may have pre-programmed workouts that can help you with weight loss, cardiovascular performance, speed workouts, or hills training. These programs will allow you to set the length of exercise time, but they will automatically change the speed of the treadmill and the incline to match the parameters of the pre-programmed workout.The ability to incline, decline, and adjust the speed: To help with training for running on hills or for additional calorie burn, the treadmill needs to offer an incline. Most treadmills can reach at least a 12% incline grade. Some treadmills even give you a simulation of running downhill with a decline grade of around 3%.You should be able to adjust the incline, speed, and program in use through the touchscreen monitor. The screen also gives you information on the time elapsed, calories burned, distance traveled, your heart rate, and more. Are there different size treadmill belts?Yes, there are, and it differs for what runners need versus walkers. Runners need a treadmill belt bed of roughly 55-60 inches long, while walkers can use one closer to 45-50 inches long. Taller people will need an even longer belt bed. Remember that the length of the treadmill isn't the same as the length of the bed.The treadmill length (and width, for that matter) must accommodate the base portion of the unit that doesn't move, as well as the bed's motor housing at the front of the unit.A treadmill belt bed should be at least 22 inches wide for runners which provides plenty of space in case you have a misstep. Walkers can successfully use a narrower bed than runners, such as 18 or 20 inches.Are treadmills safe? Many treadmills contain a safety line that hooks into the unit and clips to your shirt. Should you stumble, the safety line disconnects from the treadmill, causing it to shut down immediately. This is a helpful safety feature and it prevents situations where the person using the treadmill falls and gets launched into a wall. It's also recommended that you unplug your treadmill when not in use for added safety. This assures it won't accidentally turn on if a child or pet is around it. Do treadmills have a weight limit? Based on the size of the motor and the shock absorption capabilities, a treadmill may give you a maximum user weight recommendation. You should be able to find this listed in its online user's manual or listed on its specifications sheet.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

Warren Buffett"s Berkshire Hathaway reveals how inflation, worker shortages, supply constraints, and flagging consumer demand are hitting American companies

Buffett's businesses are being hit by everything from higher prices for used cars and auto parts, to lower demand for housing and apparel. Warren Buffett.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Berkshire Hathaway's Q2 earnings provide valuable insights into the health of the US economy. Warren Buffett's company faced inflation, worker shortages, supply woes, and patches of weak demand. Geico faced higher prices for used cars and auto parts, while McLane battled to find truck drivers. American companies are battling numerous headwinds, such as inflation, shortages, supply-chain disruptions, and concerns about consumer spending.Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns scores of businesses, including insurers, railroads, utilities, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and service providers. That makes the company a microcosm of the wider US economy.Buffett's conglomerate recently published its second-quarter earnings, which offered a fresh look at how everything from higher fuel prices to wage inflation and worker shortages to interest rates are affecting American businesses.Here are nine Berkshire divisions dealing with major headaches:InsuranceMarkets InsiderGeico recorded a pretax underwriting loss of nearly $500 million in the second quarter, compared with a gain of $626 million in the same period last year.The auto insurer, known for its gecko mascot, blamed higher used-car prices and shortages of auto parts, which made paying out insurance claims more expensive. RailroadsMarkets InsiderThe BNSF Railway reported a 70% rise in its first-half fuel expenses as a result of higher energy prices. However, it passed the increase on to customers via greater fuel surcharges, which drove a double-digit increase in its average revenue per railcar.Notably, the freight-railroad network carried lower quantities of consumer, industrial, and agricultural products in the quarter. It blamed those declines respectively on international supply-chain disruptions, fewer petroleum shipments due to less demand for crude by rail, and reduced grain exports.On the other hand, BNSF's coal revenues jumped 30% in the first six months of this year, reflecting more electricity generation, higher natural-gas prices spurring customers to switch fuels, and greater export demand.Utilities and real estateMarkets InsiderSeveral of Berkshire's utilities benefited from higher retail and wholesale energy prices in the quarter. However, MidAmerican Energy's profits were tempered by higher costs for the power it purchased.Berkshire's real-estate brokerage saw its profits decline in the period, as rising interest rates tempered demand for its mortgage, brokerage, and settlement services.Industrial productsMarkets InsiderBerkshire's industrial-products division was hit by higher costs, supply-chain disruptions, and labor shortages in the quarter. Those headwinds largely offset higher average selling prices and greater demand for certain products.Precision Castparts — a manufacturer of aerospace parts — noted that both materials and utilities rose in price last quarter, and that worker shortages led to manufacturing inefficiencies.Lubrizol, a chemicals specialist, said shortages of raw materials weighed on its first-half sales volumes. It also hiked prices to offset rising costs of raw materials such as oil feedstocks, as well as of utilities, packaging, and shipping.Marmon, an industrial conglomerate, benefited from higher average prices for metals, but took a $90 million blow from the shutdown of its rail-and-leasing business in Russia.Building productsMarkets InsiderBerkshire's building-products division — home to brands such as Clayton Homes and Benjamin Moore — gained from robust demand for residential construction in the first half of 2022.However, it expects higher home-mortgage rates to weaken demand for homebuilding, which should weigh on its performance over the coming months.The segment continues to suffer from supply-chain disruptions and sharp cost increases for many raw materials as well as energy, freight, and labor. However, it benefited from higher average selling prices last quarter, as it passed on its increased input and transportation costs.Consumer productsMarkets InsiderBerkshire's consumer-products segment — which houses brands such as Brooks and Fruit of the Loom — suffered a 16% drop in apparel sales last quarter, as retailers' ballooning inventories resulted in their ordering less stock.Moreover, apparel-and-footwear earnings roughly halved due to lower sales volumes, manufacturing inefficiencies, and higher costs for raw materials, freight, labor, and other inputs. Berkshire warned the trend was likely to continue for the rest of this year.Forest River, a maker of RVs and pontoon boats, reported higher costs of materials, and signs of slowing demand after several years of exceptional growth.ServicesMarkets InsiderTTI, an electronics distributor that cashed in on the microchip shortage during the pandemic, is starting to see demand slow due to higher inventory levels across the industry's supply chain.NetJets and FlightSafety passed on higher fuel prices to customers in the form of surcharges. However, they reported lower earnings, as they had to use subcontracted aircraft to meet an exceptional increase in customer flight hours.RetailingMarkets InsiderBerkshire Hathaway Automotive saw more valuable transactions on average, but sold fewer vehicles in the quarter. The car-dealer network blamed limited production of new vehicles by automakers, which reflected microchip shortages and other supply-chain disruptions.Berkshire's home-furnishings businesses reported higher average selling prices but lower transaction volumes, leaving their revenues virtually flat.The rest of Berkshire's retailers suffered a 21% slump in earnings, largely due to a poor performance by its furniture sellers and Pampered Chef.McLaneAssociated PressMcLane, a wholesale distributor of grocery and nonfood items, blamed a 16% drop in first-half profits on higher costs of personnel, fuel, and insurance. The subsidiary was also hit by supply-chain constraints, including shortages of truck drivers and other workers, as well as by higher inventory costs. McLane warned the tricky backdrop would likely persist for the rest of this year.Read more: Value investors have missed out on massive gains by dismissing the likes of Amazon and Alphabet as overpriced. Fund manager and writer Adam Seessel explains how to fairly value tech champions, and avoid losing out again.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 13th, 2022

Congress passed the biggest climate package in US history. For you, it means cheap energy, clean air, and jobs.

By cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and funding a new climate plan, the Inflation Reduction Act promises to help your wallet, health, and security. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi holds a signed copy of H.R. 6376, the "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022," after the bill passed the House at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, August 12, 2022.Leah Millis/Reuters Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act on Friday, sending it to President Joe Biden to sign into law. The bill includes a $369 billion climate package that Sen. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin agreed to. The Inflation Reduction Act would lower energy bills, make EVs affordable, create 1.5 million jobs, and cut pollution. Congress just passed the most significant climate bill in US history, paving the way for cheaper energy and a more livable planet.On Friday, the House approved the Inflation Reduction Act, clearing the bill's last obstacle in Congress and sending it to President Joe Biden's desk for him to sign into law. The plan doles out about $369 billion for climate programs, aiming to expand renewable energy such as solar, wind, and cleaner fuels, while making it less expensive to buy electric vehicles and home appliances.The act is more than a year and a half in the making. In its final weeks, it wasn't clear if its climate plan would survive, as Democratic holdouts Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona prevented the party unity required to get the package through Congress. But Democrats quickly united to pass the bill after Manchin and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer struck a surprise deal on July 27.Solar panels are installed at a floating photovoltaic plant on a lake in Haltern, Germany, Friday, April 1, 2022.Martin Meissner/AP PhotoOnce it becomes law, the bill would put the US on track to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 44% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, according to multiple assessments.Experts say the new climate plan also promises savings, health boons, and higher quality of living for everyday people across the US.The sun sets behind power transmission lines in Texas, on July 11, 2022.Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images"This isn't about the sky, or the polar bears," Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown, a climate nonprofit, told Insider, adding, "This is about you and your pocketbook, your jobs, the air your kids breathe, the town you live in, our national security."Here are five ways the new climate-change package could make your life better:Lower energy billsA woman prepares dinner for her family at her home in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 2021.Hannah Beier/ReutersThe new climate plan includes about $30 billion in loans and grants for states and electric utilities to adopt more renewable energy, plus more than $60 billion in tax credits for manufacturers of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, energy storage, and other technology, according to a summary from Senate Democrats.Solar and wind already generated cheaper electricity than fossil fuels, even before oil and gas prices soared this year. Yet they still only account for about 20% of US energy use. The Inflation Reduction Act could speed up a shift away from fossil fuels and also make it less expensive to hook up your home with electric.Vesta wind turbines in Palm Springs, California, on July 21, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersA total of $9 billion in home energy rebates goes to helping Americans insulate their homes and replace stoves, furnaces, water heaters, and other appliances with electric alternatives. Homeowners can deduct up to 30% of installation costs from their taxes. A similar deduction for solar is guaranteed for homeowners and expanded to residential battery storage."This is really about delivering lower energy bills for everyday Americans," Leah Stokes, an environment and energy politics professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a press briefing on July 28. She noted that high oil and gas prices are a major driver of inflation that ripples across every industry, from transportation to manufacturing to agriculture.A family eats dinner at their home in Calumet Park, Illinois, on December 8, 2020.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters"When fossil fuels go up, other goods and services go up," Stokes said.The average household could save $1,800 on their energy bill each year by installing a modern electric heat pump and rooftop solar and buying an electric vehicle, according to an analysis by Rewiring America, a think tank that promotes electrification.Cheaper electric vehiclesA Scion IQ electric car is plugged in in a garage in Irvine, California, on January 26, 2015.Lucy Nicholson/ReutersThe bill extends an existing $7,500 tax credit for new EVs — offered as a discount at the point of sale — and offers up to $4,000 for used EVs and plug-in hybrids.It also lifts the cap on the number of tax breaks automakers can offer, benefiting companies like Tesla, General Motors, and Toyota that already hit the limit, as long as the vehicle is assembled in the US.  "Once people own an electric car, they're going to laugh every time they drive by a gas station, when they see $5 a gallon," Foley said, adding, "I think this will help us reach a tipping point, where five to 10 years from now you won't see gas cars sold anymore, or very few."Gas prices over the $6.00 mark are advertised at a Mobil Station in Santa Monica, California, on May 23, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersThere are some caveats, like your income, the vehicle's price tag, and where its parts are made.If you earn $150,000 or more a year, or $300,000 in joint family income, you won't qualify for the new car tax credit. There's a limit on the price of the car, too. Bigger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks, must cost less than $80,000, and smaller cars less than $55,000, to qualify for the credit.For used cars, the income limit is $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers. The sticker price must be $25,000 or below.The bill also requires vehicle batteries to be made with 40% of minerals extracted or processed in countries the US has a free trade agreement with, or recycled in North America. But supply chains for those minerals don't exist yet, E&E News reported. The majority of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other minerals used in EV batteries come from China, Russia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, although analysts told E&E News they hope the mandate spurs a made-in-America market.Cleaner air to breatheA man rides his skateboard at sunset while doing a trick in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2019.Carlo Allegri/ReutersWith fewer gas-guzzling cars on the road, and fewer industrial sites powered by fossil fuels, air would be cleaner and safer to breathe."These sorts of climate measures could also reduce particulate matter or ozone smog, as kind of a side benefit that would directly, immediately improve health," Scot Miller, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins, told Insider.That drop in air pollution could prevent up to 3,900 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks by 2030, according to an analysis by the policy-research firm Energy Innovation LLC.A layer of air pollution hangs over Denver, Colorado, on January 21, 2020.Jim Urquhart/ReutersThe American Lung Association pointed to those clean air and health gains in a statement on July 28, urging Congress to "move swiftly" and "without delay" to pass the new bill into law.The bill also includes provisions to fund cleanup of dangerous pollution sites, which are disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities of color.The investment is "probably not enough, but it's more than we've ever spent before," Foley said.Jobs, jobs, jobsFord Assembly workers install a battery onto the chassis of a Ford Focus Electric vehicle at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, on November 7, 2012.Rebecca Cook/ReutersBy investing about $60 billion in manufacturing — everything from heat pumps to wind turbines — this climate plan could help keep clean-energy companies in the US, securing "good paying, and hopefully union, jobs," Stokes said.It's not just manufacturing. Renewable-energy infrastructure needs to be installed and maintained. The bill funds new electricity-transmission lines, offshore wind projects, housing retrofits, renewable-energy projects in rural areas, and repurposing or replacing defunct energy infrastructure.A worker sits at the base of a wind turbine blade at TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa, on December 22, 2011.Joshua Lott/ReutersAll that work requires workers. The new climate plan would create up to 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the Energy Innovation analysis.The bill also focuses on communities historically associated with oil, gas, and coal extraction, by providing a tax incentive for companies that create renewable-energy jobs in those places.Protection from extreme weatherDaniel Bosquez shades the face of Timothy Jalomo, 10 months, from the afternoon sun as he fills a plastic pool with water, as San Antonio, Texas is placed under an excessive heat warning, on July 11, 2022.Lisa Krantz/ReutersClimate change is making droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves more severe and more frequent. These weather events cause serious damage to human property and infrastructure and cost lives.The bill provides funding for communities to mitigate the health effects of extreme heat, to prevent and respond to wildfires, and to prepare for coastal climate impacts like severe hurricanes and flooding from sea-level rise. It now includes billions of dollars to fight droughts, a request Sinema made before giving her approval, according to The New York Times.The bill also gives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a funding boost for forecasting and research.A house is fully engulfed by flames during the Dixie Fire, a wildfire near the town of Greenville, California, August 5, 2021.Fred Greaves/ReutersWhile the new funds would help communities adapt to extreme events, the bill could also help prevent weather from getting even more extreme. If the world cuts emissions enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, that could prevent a significant acceleration in the severity and coverage area of extreme weather."I think everyone I work with in the emissions community is sort of holding their breath and hoping that this [bill] goes through," Miller said.This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on August 3, 2022.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 12th, 2022

"They will MASSIVELY decrease our home values": Billionaire Marc Andreessen slammed affordable housing in his wealthy neighborhood after criticizing "crazily skyrocketing housing prices" in the past

"We need to want these things more than we want to prevent these things," he said two years before he helped shut down an affordable housing plan. Marc Andreessen is among the biggest defenders of the prospects of Web3.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Billionaire Marc Andreessen helped shut down an affordable housing plan in his home town, The Atlantic first reported. In a public comment to town officials he was "IMMENSELY AGAINST multifamily development." In 2020, the founder of Andreessen Horowitz criticized "skyrocketing housing prices."  Billionaire Marc Andreessen slammed a proposal to bring affordable housing to his neighborhood after bemoaning "crazily skyrocketing housing prices" in the past.In a public comment submitted to the Atherton Town Council and first reported on by The Atlantic, Andreessen wrote that he was "IMMENSELY AGAINST multifamily development" in his uber-wealthy neighborhood — an area where the typical home value is $8 million.Andreessen and a spokesperson for his investment firm did not respond to a request for comment ahead of publication."Please IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all multifamily overlay zoning projects from the Housing Element which will be submitted to the state in July," Andreessen and his wife, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, said via an email to the mayor and city council. "They will MASSIVELY decrease our home values, the quality of life of ourselves and our neighbors and IMMENSELY increase the noise pollution and traffic."The co-founder of the Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz's comment was one of 270 that was submitted to the town regarding the housing proposal — the majority of which were against the initiative, The Atlantic reported. As a result, the proposal was left off the town's housing draft which was submitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for review on August 2.The housing draft was created to show how the town would meet community needs. The multi-family housing proposal would allow the construction of a few smaller properties for apartments or condominiums, allowing for about 130 units by 2031.Andreessen's stance against the housing plan come only a few years after the billionaire criticized the lack of affordable housing in key cities like San Francisco in a 2020 essay called "It's Time to Build.""We can't build nearly enough housing in our cities with surging economic potential — which results in crazily skyrocketing housing prices in places like San Francisco, making it nearly impossible for regular people to move in and take the jobs of the future," Andreessen wrote in the essay. "We should have gleaming skyscrapers and spectacular living environments in all our best cities at levels way beyond what we have now; where are they?" he added."We need to want these things more than we want to prevent these things," he went on to say in the essay.Andreessen's home town was identified as America's most expensive zip code last year. The town is home to some of Silicon Valley's most powerful people, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, former Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, former HP CEO Meg Whitman, and investor Charles Schwab.In 2018, a local news outlet reported that the town was struggling to find places for local police and dispatchers to sleep between their shifts due to the length of their commutes into Atherton. Some officers told the publication at the time that planned to drive campers into the station to accommodate sleeping needs.Read The Atlantic's full story at its website.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 8th, 2022

Los Angeles hospitality workers react to proposal that would require hotels to offer up vacant rooms to homeless people

"Hotels did not cause the homeless problem. Hotels are not the solution for the homeless problem," Stuart Waldman told the LA city council on Friday. "Hotels did not cause the homeless problem. Hotels are not the solution for the homeless problem," Stuart Waldman, the president of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association, told LA council members on Friday.Walter Bibikow/Getty Images A recently proposed ordinance in Los Angeles would require hotels to open up vacant rooms to homeless people. Hotel workers spoke both for and against the proposal at a city council meeting on Friday.  The ordinance will appear on Los Angeles voters' ballots in 2024, the council decided.  Hotel workers, some of whom have experienced homelessness themselves in recent years, shared their input Friday on a controversial ordinance that would require Los Angeles hotels to rent vacant rooms to homeless people through a voucher program. The proposed initiative, titled the "Responsible Hotel Ordinance," is backed by the hospitality worker union Unite Here Local 11 and will appear on Los Angeles' voters ballots in 2024, the Los Angeles Times first reported. At a city council meeting on Friday, hotel workers and industry players voiced opinions for and against the proposal, with several noting that staff members are not properly trained to provide the mental health and social services required to adequately address unsheltered individuals' needs. Thomas Franklin, a night auditor at the Beverly Hills Marriott in West Los Angeles, said he himself was homeless ten years ago and described a "chaotic" experience living in a transitional housing program that had 24-hour security and staff on hand. "With all the drugs, all the fighting ... we did not have the support in order to make it a successful program there," he told council members on Friday. "Without having a clearly defined support from policing and mental services, there's no way that I think that this is something that we should be able to do."An owner of the Hampton Inn Suites in Los Angeles reiterated these concerns, saying his employees are "absolutely scared and fear not just for their lives and their safety, but also for how we are treating the homeless and unsheltered.""There has to be a more humane way to take care of this problem," he continued. "My staff is here with me today ... this is no joke to them. If this passes, they will look for other opportunities."Dixie Moore (right) talks with representatives from St Joseph Center Homeless Services who will help her move from her tent encampment along the Venice Beach Boardwalk to short-term housing in a nearby hotel on July 2, 2021.Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty ImagesCarly Kirchen, an organizer for the worker's union backing the ordinance, said hotel owners are perpetuating the "myth" that "every person experiencing homelessness is so sick that they are a danger to the people around them," adding that thousands of Local 11 members are currently facing eviction. "Even as a union member with a good-paying job, I was recently homeless due to the housing crisis in our city,"  Bambian Taft, a hotel minibar attendant and former housekeeper, said. Other speakers noted the proposed ordinance's lack of economic data and funding information. Richard Earle, an executive at the hotel insurance provider Petra RiskSolutions, said the proposal would cause carriers to "legitimately pull coverage.""It will not be available because it changes the entire scope of the business," he said, adding that coverage for hotels adhering to the initiative would be four to five times more expensive than their current rates. "It will be a direct destructive punitive impact on their business."The ordinance would also require hotels that demolish housing in order to build new developments to replace the destroyed units with affordable housing. Ronald Bermudez, who said he works as a bellman at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, voiced support for this initiative at the meeting Friday. "I'm a renter at near the downtown area," he told council members. "It will become so difficult to stay in Los Angeles due to the high cost of rent. We need to do everything we can to protect housing in our city."Are you a hotel worker struggling to afford housing? Reach out to this reporter from a non-work address at htowey@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 7th, 2022

Democrats are now united behind the new climate package. For you, it means cheap energy, clean air, and jobs.

By cutting greenhouse-gas emissions and funding a new climate plan, the Inflation Reduction Act promises to help your wallet, health, and security. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe ManchinDrew Angerer/Getty Images Sen. Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin agreed to a surprise $369 billion climate package on July 27. Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema said she would support the bill on Thursday, poising Democrats to pass it into law. The Inflation Reduction Act would lower energy bills, make EVs affordable, create 1.5 million jobs, and cut pollution. Senate Democrats are on the brink of passing the most significant climate bill in US history, paving the way for cheaper energy and a more livable planet.On Thursday, the last Democratic holdout in the Senate, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, announced she was willing to move forward with the new legislation. That leaves Democrats united and poised to pass the bill into law.The surprise deal between Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia would dole out about $369 billion for climate programs as part of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.The new climate package aims to expand renewable energy such as solar, wind, and cleaner fuels, while making it less expensive to buy electric vehicles and home appliances.Solar panels are installed at a floating photovoltaic plant on a lake in Haltern, Germany, Friday, April 1, 2022.Martin Meissner/AP PhotoIf Congress approves the bill, it would put the US on track to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions by up to 44% from 2005 levels by the end of the decade, according to multiple assessments.Experts say the new climate plan also promises savings, health boons, and higher quality of living for everyday people across the US. The sun sets behind power transmission lines in Texas, on July 11, 2022.Nick Wagner/Xinhua via Getty Images"This isn't about the sky, or the polar bears," Jonathan Foley, executive director of Project Drawdown, a climate nonprofit, told Insider, adding, "This is about you and your pocketbook, your jobs, the air your kids breathe, the town you live in, our national security."Here are five ways the new climate-change package could make your life better:Lower energy billsA woman prepares dinner for her family at her home in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania, on September 22, 2021.Hannah Beier/ReutersThe new climate proposal includes about $30 billion in loans and grants for states and electric utilities to adopt more renewable energy, plus more than $60 billion in tax credits for manufacturers of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries for electric vehicles, energy storage, and other technology, according to a summary from Senate Democrats.Solar and wind already generated cheaper electricity than fossil fuels, even before oil and gas prices soared this year. Yet they still only account for about 20% of US energy use. The Schumer-Manchin deal could speed up a shift away from fossil fuels and also make it less expensive to hook up your home with electric.Vesta wind turbines in Palm Springs, California, on July 21, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersA total of $9 billion in home energy rebates would help Americans insulate their homes and replace stoves, furnaces, water heaters, and other appliances with electric alternatives. Homeowners could deduct up to 30% of installation costs from their taxes. A similar deduction for solar would be guaranteed for homeowners and expanded to residential battery storage."This is really about delivering lower energy bills for everyday Americans," Leah Stokes, an environment and energy politics professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, said in a press briefing on Thursday. She noted that high oil and gas prices are a major driver of inflation that ripples across every industry, from transportation to manufacturing to agriculture.A family eats dinner at their home in Calumet Park, Illinois, on December 8, 2020.Shannon Stapleton/Reuters"When fossil fuels go up, other goods and services go up," Stokes said.The average household could save $1,800 on their energy bill each year by installing a modern electric heat pump and rooftop solar and buying an electric vehicle, according to an analysis by Rewiring America, a think tank that promotes electrification.Cheaper electric vehiclesA Scion IQ electric car is plugged in in a garage in Irvine, California, on January 26, 2015.Lucy Nicholson/ReutersThe bill would extend an existing $7,500 tax credit for new EVs — offered as a discount at the point of sale — and offer up to $4,000 for used EVs and plug-in hybrids.It would also lift the cap on the number of tax breaks automakers can offer, benefiting companies like Tesla, General Motors, and Toyota that already hit the limit, as long as the vehicle is assembled in the US.  "Once people own an electric car, they're going to laugh every time they drive by a gas station, when they see $5 a gallon," Foley said, adding, "I think this will help us reach a tipping point, where five to 10 years from now you won't see gas cars sold anymore, or very few."Gas prices over the $6.00 mark are advertised at a Mobil Station in Santa Monica, California, on May 23, 2022.David Swanson/ReutersThere are some caveats, like your income, the vehicle's price tag, and where its parts are made.If you earn $150,000 or more a year, or $300,000 in joint family income, you won't qualify for the new car tax credit. There's a limit on the price of the car, too. Bigger vehicles, such as SUVs and pickup trucks, must cost less than $80,000, and smaller cars less than $55,000, to qualify for the credit.For used cars, the income limit is $75,000 for single tax filers and $150,000 for joint filers. The sticker price must be $25,000 or below. The bill also requires vehicle batteries to be made with 40% of minerals extracted or processed in countries the US has a free trade agreement with, or recycled in North America. But supply chains for those minerals don't exist yet, E&E News reported. The majority of lithium, cobalt, nickel, and other minerals used in EV batteries come from China, Russia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, although analysts told E&E News they hope the mandate spurs a made-in-America market.Cleaner air to breatheA man rides his skateboard at sunset while doing a trick in the Venice Beach area of Los Angeles, California, on November 12, 2019.Carlo Allegri/ReutersWith fewer gas-guzzling cars on the road, and fewer industrial sites powered by fossil fuels, air would be cleaner and safer to breathe."These sorts of climate measures could also reduce particulate matter or ozone smog, as kind of a side benefit that would directly, immediately improve health," Scot Miller, an assistant professor of environmental health and engineering at Johns Hopkins, told Insider.That drop in air pollution could prevent up to 3,900 premature deaths and 100,000 asthma attacks by 2030, according to an analysis by the policy-research firm Energy Innovation LLC.A layer of air pollution hangs over Denver, Colorado, on January 21, 2020.Jim Urquhart/ReutersThe American Lung Association pointed to those clean air and health gains in a statement Thursday, urging Congress to "move swiftly" and "without delay" to pass the new bill into law.The bill also includes provisions to fund cleanup of dangerous pollution sites, which are disproportionately concentrated in low-income communities of color.The investment is "probably not enough, but it's more than we've ever spent before," Foley said.Jobs, jobs, jobsFord Assembly workers install a battery onto the chassis of a Ford Focus Electric vehicle at the Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan, on November 7, 2012.Rebecca Cook/ReutersBy investing about $60 billion in manufacturing — everything from heat pumps to wind turbines — this climate plan would help keep clean-energy companies in the US, securing "good paying, and hopefully union, jobs," Stokes said.It's not just manufacturing. Renewable-energy infrastructure needs to be installed and maintained. The bill would fund new electricity-transmission lines, offshore wind projects, housing retrofits, renewable-energy projects in rural areas, and repurposing or replacing defunct energy infrastructure.A worker sits at the base of a wind turbine blade at TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa, on December 22, 2011.Joshua Lott/ReutersAll that work requires workers. The bill would create up to 1.5 million jobs by 2030, according to the Energy Innovation analysis.The bill also focuses on communities historically associated with oil, gas, and coal extraction, by providing a tax incentive for companies that create renewable-energy jobs in those places. Protection from extreme weatherDaniel Bosquez shades the face of Timothy Jalomo, 10 months, from the afternoon sun as he fills a plastic pool with water, as San Antonio, Texas is placed under an excessive heat warning, on July 11, 2022.Lisa Krantz/ReutersClimate change is making droughts, floods, wildfires, and heat waves more severe and more frequent. These weather events cause serious damage to human property and infrastructure and cost lives.The bill would provide funding for communities to mitigate the health effects of extreme heat, to prevent and respond to wildfires, and to prepare for coastal climate impacts like severe hurricanes and flooding from sea-level rise. It now includes billions of dollars to fight droughts, a request Sinema made before giving her approval, according to The New York Times.The bill also gives the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) a funding boost for forecasting and research.A house is fully engulfed by flames during the Dixie Fire, a wildfire near the town of Greenville, California, August 5, 2021.Fred Greaves/ReutersWhile the new funds would help communities adapt to extreme events, the bill could also help prevent weather from getting even more extreme. If the world cuts emissions enough to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, that could prevent a significant acceleration in the severity and coverage area of extreme weather."I think everyone I work with in the emissions community is sort of holding their breath and hoping that this [bill] goes through," Miller said.This story has been updated with new information. It was originally published on August 3, 2022.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderAug 5th, 2022