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The Horrors Of A Noninflationary Thanksgiving

The Horrors Of A Noninflationary Thanksgiving

Authored by Peter Earle via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. There’s always much to be thankful for, but this particular holiday arrives…

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The Horrors Of A Noninflationary Thanksgiving

Authored by Peter Earle via The American Institute for Economic Research,

Thanksgiving is less than a week away. There’s always much to be thankful for, but this particular holiday arrives against a backdrop of worry and complaints.

Inflation is a dominant concern right now, with the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI) showing prices broadly rising 6.2 percent on a year-over-year basis. 

US CPI YoY (Jan 2016 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

Among other things, food prices are up. And Thanksgiving is among the most food-centric American holidays. 

It’s not merely hearsay that consumer fears are rising. The November 11th release of the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index showed a drop from 72.5 to 66.8 between October and early November 2021. The decline was several times greater than expected, with the accompanying statement underscoring the source of the souring sentiment.

Consumer sentiment fell in early November to its lowest level in a decade due to an escalating inflation rate and the growing belief among consumers that no effective policies have yet been developed to reduce the damage from surging inflation. One-in-four consumers cited inflationary reductions in their living standards in November, with lower income and older consumers voicing the greatest impact. Nominal income gains were widely reported but when asked about inflation-adjusted gains, half of all families anticipated reduced real incomes next year.

It seems essential to distill the matter at hand. The rapid updraft in the general price level seems to have begun in earnest in March or April of 2021, about a year after extraordinary fiscal, monetary, and social policy measures were taken in the face of the Covid pandemic. Those ultimately included a 37 percent increase in the M2 money stock, trillions of dollars in stimulus funds at a time where up to 300 million people were not working, and widespread, largely indiscriminate lockdowns/stay-at-home orders. The former policy measures disrupted supply chains, creating unanticipated stoppages in critical commercial ventures and congestion in transportation systems as well as widespread unemployment. 

A recent article in the Washington Post offers some advice for concerned feast planners, one of which is to be flexible. But is that a sound, actionable recommendation with the general price level ascending and, in the case of certain items, soaring? 

Indeed. In fact, there are a handful of categories in which prices not only have not risen over the last year. It’s absolutely not necessary to pay higher prices to bring a perfectly serviceable Thanksgiving dinner together, and I’m happy to provide my findings to price sensitive hosts.

Let’s Talk Turkey

According to BLS indices, meat, fish, and poultry prices are up by almost 12 percent over the last year. 

US CPI Meat, Poultry, & Fish (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

But turkey is another matter entirely. Just a few weeks back, the Des Moines Register–a source which, to me, seems authoritative–informed readers that they have been warned:

If you’re supplying the turkey for this year’s Thanksgiving gathering, buy it now…Turkey production is down year-over-year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture department said in October. The supply of birds in cold storage through August, the end of the seasonal buildup to the holiday, was 20 percent below the same time a year earlier.

And the prices of turkeys have consequently burst to the upside.

[T]he price of a 15-pound turkey has surged from $11 in 2018 to nearly $21. That’s the highest in decades, after a 25 percent jump in just the past year. And just about anything else you might need to make that dinner complete is probably costlier, as well, with eggs up nearly 30 percent in a year and sugar up 12 percent.

But don’t despair: your family needn’t choose between a larger bill or going meatless for the holiday. As a matter of fact, there is an option which will likely save you and your family money. Don’t believe me? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and seemingly against all odds, the price of frankfurters has fallen over the last year. 

US CPI Frankfurters (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

And, we’ve got our main course!

The Grain Pain

Agricultural commodities are up a tremendous amount over the last year. The price of the generic wheat futures contract, which is obviously a major component of bread, is up 29 percent since November 2020. Corn prices, by the same measure, are up 42 percent over the same period. Those factor directly into the prices of such Thanksgiving essentials as rolls and stuffings. (If we are sticking to our cost-cutting mandate, it also takes hot dog buns off the list). Gravy, made with beef or chicken broth, falls victim to the same meat price-driven increases described previously: they’ve seen a 1.75 percent increase over the last year. What, if anything, can be added to our bunless hot dog “feast?”

Fear not: cheeses are down in price over the last year. As I wrote earlier this year, the lumber frenzy caused by the impact of lockdowns on sawmills and the homebound DIY craze ultimately led to a collapse in the price of certain dairy products.

US CPI Cheese & Related Products (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

So sticking with a strict cost-cutting mandate, we’ll have to forgo stuffing, rolls, buns, and gravy. No worries though: we’ve got processed cheese for our wieners.

More Green for the Greens

When it comes to vegetables, on a year-over-year price basis we’re mostly out of luck – except for lettuce. A plain salad could appear amid the cut-rate Thanksgiving spread. 

US CPI Lettuce (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

But it would be an extraordinarily plain salad, since over the last year salad dressing is up 7.7 percent and tomatoes up 20 percent. (Croutons, which are a bread and therefore grain product, are already off the menu.) Pre-mixed salads and even frozen vegetable and fruit prices are up year-over-year as well, 6.8 percent and 1.6 percent respectively.

What about cranberries, for which secondary only to turkey the holiday is renowned? Sorry, no. They’re up 2.8 percent since last November. According to the CEO of Ocean Spray, his firm

has to pass on the rising production costs to consumers…”My advice is to be absolutely flexible. Whether it’s jellied, whole or fresh cranberries,” he added. “Plan early and make sure you get to the grocery store. It will be a happy Thanksgiving, but you have to demonstrate more flexibility than you have in the past.”

And for the Sweet Tooth

And what of the much-anticipated dessert course? Will there be pie, cake, tarts, or turnovers for dessert? Those have risen just over 4 percent since last November, so, no, no, no, and no.

Sweets or candy? Up 1.5 percent. 

Whatever is included in the CPI category known simply as “snacks?” One assumes these include chips, crisps, pretzels, and so on, which have increased in price by 3.2 percent over the last year. 

Can we at least, after our hot dogs, processed cheese, and undressed, plain lettuce salad, have cookies? 

US CPI Cookies (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

Yes. Cookie prices are down two-tenths of a percent (0.23 percent) since this time 2020. 

They will not be washed down with milk, though: milk prices are up 4.3 percent over 12 months.

In Vinum Altum Pretium

And to imbibe? You’re better off not asking. Your friends and neighbors will have paid 1.5 percent higher for beer, wine, and other such consumables than they did last year, and over 5 percent more for soft drinks and other carbonated products.  

US CPI Alcoholic Beverages and Carbonated Drinks (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

There’s always good old H2O. Water is healthy. And to fully savor the flavor of Thanksgiving frankfurters wrapped in cheese slices between bites of unseasoned lettuce, water is inarguably the best possible choice. Variety may indeed be the spice of life; but in a sudden inflationary outbreak savings are garnish enough. 

Look on the Less Dim Side

As I was completing this article, a television wonk said (paraphrased): “Yes, food prices are higher now than they were last year, but used car prices are up several times that!” So, in the spirit of giving thanks, we should all be grateful that..used cars..are not on the menu? 

A comparison of the costs of the two meals, “traditional” versus “price sensitive,” over the course of roughly one year (‘price change’) follows. 

US CPI Frozen Turkey, Bread, Sauces & Gravy, Prepared Salad, Canned Fruit, & Pies & Bakery Products (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

US CPI Frankfurters, Cheese, Lettuce, & Cookies (Nov 2020 – present)

(Source: Bloomberg Finance, LP)

I’m guessing there will be a tiny minority of readers who’ll think that hot dogs, cheese, lettuce, and cookies with lukewarm water (I’d suggest cool or cold water, but energy prices are rising too) constitute a lackluster Thanksgiving spread. But one of the other tips from the Washington Post was, in the face of shortages and rising prices, to rethink traditions. And the policy alchemists in Washington, DC are compelling tens of millions of Americans to do exactly that, in conjunction with dissipating purchasing power and abating standards of living. With family and friends around, there’s no reason why inflationary Thanksgivings can’t be almost like previous Thanksgivings. Almost.

Tyler Durden Sun, 11/21/2021 - 12:45

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Team undertakes study of two-dimensional transition metal chalcogenides

Two-dimensional materials, like transition metal dichalcogenide, have applications in public health because of their large surface area and high surface…

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Two-dimensional materials, like transition metal dichalcogenide, have applications in public health because of their large surface area and high surface sensitivities, along with their unique electrical, optical, and electrochemical properties. A research team has undertaken a review study of methods used to modulate the properties of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD). These methods have important biomedical applications, including biosensing.

Credit: Nano Research Energy, Tsinghua University Press

Two-dimensional materials, like transition metal dichalcogenide, have applications in public health because of their large surface area and high surface sensitivities, along with their unique electrical, optical, and electrochemical properties. A research team has undertaken a review study of methods used to modulate the properties of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD). These methods have important biomedical applications, including biosensing.

 

The team’s work is published in the journal Nano Research Energy on November 23, 2022.

 

The team’s goal is to present a comprehensive summarization of this promising field and show challenges and opportunities available in this research area. “In this review, we focus on the state-of-the-art methods to modulate properties of two-dimensional TMD and their applications in biosensing. In particular, we thoroughly discuss the structure, intrinsic properties, property modulation methods, and biosensing applications of TMD,” said Yu Lei, an assistant professor at the Institute of Materials Research, Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University.

 

Since graphene was discovered in 2004, two-dimensional materials, such as TMD, have attracted significant attention. Because of its unique properties, two-dimensional TMD can serve as the atomically thin platforms for energy storage and conversion, photoelectric conversion, catalysis, and biosensing. TMD also displays a wide band structure and has unusual optical properties. Yet another benefit of two-dimensional TMD is that it can be produced in large quantities at a low cost.

 

In public health, reliable and affordable in vitro and in vivo detection of biomolecules is essential for disease prevention and diagnosis. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, people have suffered not only from the physical disease, but also from the psychological problems related to extensive exposure to stress. Extensive stress can result in abnormal levels in biomarkers such as serotonin, dopamine, cortisol, and epinephrine. So, it is essential that scientists find non-invasive ways to monitor these biomarkers in body fluids, such as sweat, tears, and saliva. In order for health care professionals to quickly and accurately assess a person’s stress and diagnose psychological disease, biosensors are of significant importance in the diagnostics, environmental monitoring, and forensic industries.

 

The team reviewed the use of two-dimensional TMD as the functional material for biosensing, the approaches to modulate the properties of TMD, and different types of TMD-based biosensors including electric, optical, and electrochemical sensors. “Public health study is always a major task in preventing, diagnosing, and fighting off the diseases. Developing ultrasensitive and selective biosensors is critical for diseases prevention and diagnosing,” said Bilu Liu, an associate professor and a principal investigator at Shenzhen Geim Graphene Center, Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University.

 

Two-dimensional TMD is a very sensitive platform for biosensing. These two-dimensional TMD based electrical/optical/electrochemical sensors have been readily used for biosensors ranging from small ions and molecules, such as Ca2+, H+, H2O2, NO2, NH3, to biomolecules such as dopamine and cortisol, that are related to central nervous disease, and all the way to molecule complexities, such as bacteria, virus, and protein.

 

The research team determined that despite the remarkable potentials, many challenges related to TMD-based biosensors still need to be solved before they can make a real impact. They suggest several possible research directions. The team recommends that the feedback loop assisted by machine learning be used to reduce the testing time needed to build the database needed for finding the proper biomolecules and TMD pairs. Their second recommendation is the use of a feedback loop assisted by machine learning to achieve the on-demand property modulation and biomolecules/TMD database. Knowing that TMD-based composites exhibit excellent performance when constructed into devices, their third recommendation is that surface modifications, such as defects and vacancies, be adopted to improve the activity of the TMD-based composites. Their last recommendation is that low-cost manufacturing methods at low temperature be developed to prepare TMD. The current chemical vapor deposition method used to prepare TMD can lead to cracks and wrinkles. A low-cost, low-temperature method would improve the quality of the films. “As the key technical issues are solved, the devices based on two-dimensional TMD will be the overarching candidates for the new healthcare technologies,” said Lei.

 

The Tsinghua University team includes Yichao Bai and Linxuan Sun, and Yu Lei from the Institute of Materials Research, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School and the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Thermal Management Engineering and Materials, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School; along with Qiangmin Yu and Bilu Liu from the Institute of Materials Research, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, and the Shenzhen Geim Graphene Center, Tsinghua-Berkeley Shenzhen Institute & Institute of Materials Research, Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School.

 

This research is funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, Guangdong Innovative and Entrepreneurial Research Team Program, the Shenzhen Basic Research Project, the Scientific Research Start-up Funds at Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School, and Shenzhen Basic Research Project.

 

##

 

About Nano Research Energy 

 

Nano Research Energy is launched by Tsinghua University Press, aiming at being an international, open-access and interdisciplinary journal. We will publish research on cutting-edge advanced nanomaterials and nanotechnology for energy. It is dedicated to exploring various aspects of energy-related research that utilizes nanomaterials and nanotechnology, including but not limited to energy generation, conversion, storage, conservation, clean energy, etc. Nano Research Energy will publish four types of manuscripts, that is, Communications, Research Articles, Reviews, and Perspectives in an open-access form.

 

About SciOpen 

 

SciOpen is a professional open access resource for discovery of scientific and technical content published by the Tsinghua University Press and its publishing partners, providing the scholarly publishing community with innovative technology and market-leading capabilities. SciOpen provides end-to-end services across manuscript submission, peer review, content hosting, analytics, and identity management and expert advice to ensure each journal’s development by offering a range of options across all functions as Journal Layout, Production Services, Editorial Services, Marketing and Promotions, Online Functionality, etc. By digitalizing the publishing process, SciOpen widens the reach, deepens the impact, and accelerates the exchange of ideas.

 


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Climate-Change Lockdowns? Yup, They Are Actually Going There…

Climate-Change Lockdowns? Yup, They Are Actually Going There…

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

I suppose…

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Climate-Change Lockdowns? Yup, They Are Actually Going There...

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

I suppose that we should have known that this was inevitable.  After establishing a precedent during the pandemic, now the elite apparently intend to impose lockdowns for other reasons as well.  What I have detailed in this article is extremely alarming, and I hope that you will share it with everyone that you can.  Climate change lockdowns are here, and if people don’t respond very strongly to this it is likely that we will soon see similar measures implemented all over the western world.  The elite have always promised to do “whatever it takes” to fight climate change, and now we are finding out that they weren’t kidding.

Over in the UK, residents of Oxfordshire will now need a special permit to go from one “zone” of the city to another.  But even if you have the permit, you will still only be allowed to go from one zone to another “a maximum of 100 days per year”

Oxfordshire County Council yesterday approved plans to lock residents into one of six zones to ‘save the planet’ from global warming. The latest stage in the ’15 minute city’ agenda is to place electronic gates on key roads in and out of the city, confining residents to their own neighbourhoods.

Under the new scheme if residents want to leave their zone they will need permission from the Council who gets to decide who is worthy of freedom and who isn’t. Under the new scheme residents will be allowed to leave their zone a maximum of 100 days per year, but in order to even gain this every resident will have to register their car details with the council who will then track their movements via smart cameras round the city.

Are residents of Oxfordshire actually going to put up with this?

[ZH: Paul Joseph Watson notes that the local authorities in Oxford tried to ‘fact check’ the article claiming they’re imposing de facto ‘climate lockdowns’, but ended basically admitting that’s exactly what they’re doing...]

I never thought that we would actually see this sort of a thing get implemented in the western world, but here we are.

Of course there are a few people that are loudly objecting to this new plan, but one Oxfordshire official is pledging that “the controversial plan would go ahead whether people liked it or not”.

Ouch.

Meanwhile, France has decided to completely ban certain short-haul flights in an attempt to reduce carbon emissions…

France can now make you train rather than plane.

The European Commission (EC) has given French officials the green light to ban select domestic flights if the route in question can be completed via train in under two and a half hours.

The plan was first proposed in 2021 as a means to reduce carbon emissions. It originally called for a ban on eight short-haul flights, but the EC has only agreed to nix three that have quick, easy rail alternatives with several direct connections each way every day.

This is nuts.

But if the French public accepts these new restrictions, similar bans will inevitably be coming to other EU nations.

In the Netherlands, the government is actually going to be buying and shutting down approximately 3,000 farms in order to “reduce its nitrogen pollution”

The Dutch government is planning to purchase and then close down up to 3,000 farms in an effort to comply with a European Union environmental mandate to slash emissions, according to reports.

Farmers in the Netherlands will be offered “well over” the worth of their farm in an effort to take up the offer voluntarily, The Telegraph reported. The country is attempting to reduce its nitrogen pollution and will make the purchases if not enough farmers accept buyouts.

“There is no better offer coming,” Christianne van der Wal, nitrogen minister, told the Dutch parliament on Friday.

This is literally suicidal.

We are in the beginning stages of an unprecedented global food crisis, and the Dutch government has decided that now is the time to shut down thousands of farms?

I don’t even have the words to describe how foolish this is.

Speaking of suicide, Canada has found a way to get people to stop emitting any carbon at all once their usefulness is over.  Assisted suicide has become quite popular among the Canadians, and the number of people choosing that option keeps setting new records year after year

Last year, more than 10,000 people in Canada – astonishingly that’s over three percent of all deaths there – ended their lives via euthanasia, an increase of a third on the previous year. And it’s likely to keep rising: next year, Canada is set to allow people to die exclusively for mental health reasons.

If you are feeling depressed, Canada has a solution for that.

And if you are physically disabled, Canada has a solution for that too

Only last week, a jaw-dropping story emerged of how, five years into an infuriating battle to obtain a stairlift for her home, Canadian army veteran and Paralympian Christine Gauthier was offered an extraordinary alternative.

A Canadian official told her in 2019 that if her life was so difficult and she so ‘desperate’, the government would help her to kill herself. ‘I have a letter saying that if you’re so desperate, madam, we can offer you MAiD, medical assistance in dying,’ the paraplegic ex-army corporal testified to Canadian MPs.

“Medical assistance in dying” sounds so clinical.

But ultimately it is the greatest lockdown of all.

Because once you stop breathing, you won’t be able to commit any more “climate sins”.

All over the western world, authoritarianism is growing at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking.

If they can severely restrict travel and shut down farms today, what sort of tyranny will we see in the future?

Sadly, most people in the general population still do not understand what is happening.

Hopefully they will wake up before it is too late.

*  *  *

It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “End Times” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.

Tyler Durden Fri, 12/09/2022 - 06:30

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How Noggin Boss Became the Next Big Thing in Sports Apparel

The Brian Robinson photo was just the latest moment in company history.
The post How Noggin Boss Became the Next Big Thing in Sports Apparel appeared first…

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The story of Noggin Boss really begins three times.

Most recently, it began in late November, when a photo of Washington Commanders RB Brian Robinson wearing a giant hat lit the internet ablaze.

After that, Noggins started popping up everywhere.

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen was awarded one from Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football crew as the player of the game after Buffalo’s win over New England. Players from the Orlando Magic did a photo shoot wearing the hats. Players from the University of Georgia wore them after winning the SEC Championship.

ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt also notably sported one on SportsCenter, having gotten in on the action long ago when Noggin Boss co-founders Gabe Cooper and Sean Starner were just trying to spread the good word about their product.

“We have planted seeds for years, and we will do whatever it takes to try to find people that we feel would be good promoters of the brand,” Cooper told Front Office Sports. “We literally shipped those years ago to Scott Van Pelt and never heard anything back, but all of a sudden, it resurfaced.”

Those promoters all notably wore Noggins with logos that Noggin Boss is unlicensed to sell — but Cooper says that’s a fortunate piece of serendipity for the company.

Noggin Boss has never sold a hat with an unlicensed logo on it, doing everything “100% above board.”

“Fans will take liberties on their own,” Cooper says. “We are very interested in going down the paths of obtaining the proper [league] licensing ourselves, so we wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that.”

A Hot Item

Of course, the sudden popularity of the brand means that everyone wants one.

After the Robinson photo, several outlets reported that Noggin Boss saw a 2,000% spike in sales. Cooper says that number was misrepresented — but the company has certainly seen a wild spike in orders, especially at this time of year.

“We’re just thankful for the grace that our fans are extending to us during the holiday season, which is crazy enough,” Cooper says.

Brian Robinson Photo Leads to 2,000% Spike for Big Hat Company

Monday was one of the biggest sales days in Noggin Boss history.
November 30, 2022

Noggin Boss was ready for this moment. That’s because its second pivotal moment happened in the studios of the extremely popular television series “Shark Tank.”

Cooper and Starner appeared on the show earlier this year, very quickly striking a deal with apparel magnate Daymond John.

But that wasn’t all: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban verbally agreed to sell Mavs Noggin Bosses in the team’s store. Cuban held up his end of the deal — and even delayed the Dallas Stars from selling Noggins because he wanted an exclusive selling period for his Mavericks.

The Noggin Boss founders purposely came into the Tank with a very low company valuation — realizing that what John and Cuban could offer them was much more valuable than money.

“These professionals have more connections than we could possibly ask for,” says Cooper, “so why would we disrespect them with an offer that we wouldn’t even give to a friend if we were trying to invite them into the business?”

Those connections are already paying dividends: Besides the Dallas teams, Noggin Boss has sold hats — through approved buyers — to the Arizona Cardinals, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, and San Jose Sharks.

Cooper also says that the company will have a strong presence during college football bowl season — and that it is finalizing licensing for a much more expansive offering.

How It All Started

But for all of its high-profile moments in the last few months, Noggin Boss’ story really began in early 2020 at the notorious Waste Management Phoenix Open. The raucous atmosphere of the golf tournament provided the perfect proving ground for the product.

“[It] was just such a huge hit, and that was the validation of like, ‘Okay, this is the good kickoff that we needed,’” Cooper says.

That success began to roll over into MLB Spring Training in Arizona — but then, of course, the world shut down because of COVID-19.

But that didn’t dampen Cooper or Starner’s spirit in the slightest. The pair knew they had something here — and they believe it could last in the long term.

Outside of the sports world, Noggin Boss has had a strong presence at bachelor and bachelorette parties, college campuses, and charity events — where Cooper says the hats get auctioned off for over $1,000.

He says the product’s universal appeal will keep it relevant for years to come.

“It just brings so much joy to people,” says Cooper. “We call it the Noggin Boss effect: When they wear it, they have so many smiles and so many conversations with complete strangers. It’s better than any medicine out there.”

The post How Noggin Boss Became the Next Big Thing in Sports Apparel appeared first on Front Office Sports.

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