Like many Americans, when I was a child, my family used to take a week-long vacation in July or August. Unlike many families, we weren’t the “beach-going type”. We joke that it was because my younger brother hated the feeling of hot sand on his feet, but it was largely due to my parents wanting us to experience something different each summer. This said, three decades later, the trip that ironically gets remembered and talked about the most was the one that had the most things “go wrong”. It isn’t even close.
In 1992, my family decided it would be fun to visit Nova Scotia. Since my brother and I had not been out of the country, my parents thought it would be a good opportunity to head north of the border. As a result, we piled into our car in early August and hit I-95 north. What followed was a trip filled with record setting heat, a massive backup on the George Washington Bridge, several missed exits, a work emergency that forced my father to fly back half way up the east coast, and a hotel that didn’t have air conditioning due to the fact that this part of Canada rarely saw temperatures above the low 80s, just to name a few of the “hiccups” we encountered. However, these all paled in comparison to us almost getting trapped on an island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy.
While you have likely never heard of it, the Bay of Fundy has the largest tidal range in the world with a range of 16 meters versus an average range worldwide of 3.3 meters. In a single 12-hour tidal cycle, about 100 billion tons of water flow in and out of the bay, which is twice as much as the combined total flow of all the rivers of the world over the same period. As a result, at low tide you can even drive your car across its bottom to various islands. The key, however, is that you have to carefully watch the clock because if you don’t get back in time, you will be stuck on the island for the night.
You can see where this is going.
After my father rejoined us in Nova Scotia, he was determined to drive across the Bay of Fundy, so we headed out to explore one of the islands the next day. Despite my initial skepticism, it was actually a pretty cool experience. We saw some people walking across, while others were just hanging out in it. To our surprise, we were the only cars crossing when we did, but there were plenty of cars in the parking lot once we got to the island. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but this would make a lot more sense in a few short hours.
After parking, we started to explore. There wasn’t a ton to see near the parking lot, so we ended up straying a bit further from the car than we had planned. Eventually, my father said it was time to head back knowing that the tide was going to come back in soon. The trouble was that there weren’t any cars left in the lot when we got back. They had all crossed back over. He hadn’t realized that you needed to head back well in advance of the tide coming in. You couldn’t just sneak back across right before the water did. Thankfully though, we made it back to our car just in time and crossed back over the Bay of Fundy.
So, why do I bring up the Bay of Fundy and our trip to Nova Scotia?
First, I have always found it interesting that the family vacation which involved the most problems is the one that comes up most often to this day. Most importantly, we do not talk about it in a negative light. In fact, when one of us mentions it, it largely elicits laughs and positive memories – how we adjusted to the heat, how we found the best bacon cheeseburger in Canada, how our drives on the golf course were much longer given it was so firm and burned out from the lack of rain, how my mom traversed the Maine National Forest at night by herself, and of course, how we almost got stuck on an island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy. Makes you wonder, today as people endlessly “pursue perfect” — the perfect family vacation, the perfect athletic experience, the perfect house, the perfect life, are we missing the point? Instead of “searching for perfect”, should we instead be searching for unique experiences and embracing whatever this pursuit brings?
Second, it feels like the economy might be experiencing the early stages of a “Bay of Fundy” moment. Much like the tidal cycle in Nova Scotia, which sees the tide go in and out every 12-hours, the economy has been in a very advantageous tidal period for more than 12-years given how long interest rates hovered near historic lows. Yet, with the Fed having hiked rates more quickly than in any period since the early 1980’s, the economic tide is clearly shifting. So far, we have just seen the earliest signs.
The most obvious?
The yield curve is the most inverted it’s been in two decades, gasoline prices above $4 are squeezing consumers, leading economic indicators have been trending lower for 17 straight months, office occupancy is cratering as leases roll, instability in the banking sector is rising as balance sheets fall under water as a result of higher rates, credit is expensive at best and unavailable at worst, housing affordability is at an all-time low, and corporate bankruptcies are rising, just to name a few.
The less obvious?
In the wake of the financial crisis fifteen years ago, congress enacted legislation to strengthen and safeguard the financial system. More specifically, in order to prevent another crisis, regulators restricted banks’ ability to overextend themselves again through the Dodd-Frank bill. Unsurprisingly, this caused many banks to curb lending, focus on fewer business channels, and take less risk more broadly. As is typically the case, in trying to solve the past crisis, the government may have sown the seeds for the next one.
Regulation simply shifted the risks to a different part of the economy. In this case, when Dodd-Frank forced most banks to pull back on lending, plenty of people and/or funds stood ready to fill the gap. Unsurprisingly, this has largely come from the less regulated part of the market, namely in the form of the private markets. With rates at historic lows, these new lenders provided capital to nearly anyone who asked for it.
The good news?
It led to an increase in sources of capital and new business formation.
The bad news?
Capital inevitability funded many more businesses and opportunities than were needed, or warranted. It also led to the creation of countless funds, many of which are led by people who have never invested through a crisis. Looking ahead, this could be a problematic combination.
So where does this leave us?
If I had to guess, we are likely in a similar situation to the one my family found ourselves in when we started making our way back to our car in the middle of the Bay of Fundy. In this case though, while a few cars have already left the island (see any private equity firms that raised large funds, funds that made large asset sales in 2021-2022, or companies that obtained long-term cheap debt), many more haven’t.
So, what is in store for those “still on the island”? More specifically, businesses that have great concepts but are fundamentally unprofitable businesses, venture funds that deployed too much capital at high valuations, and lenders that thought rates were going to remain low forever? I suspect many will find themselves stranded without access to capital and other important resources; only instead of it being for one night, it will likely be for several years. Some will survive long enough to eventually get off the island, but many more will not.
While this will likely still take time to unfold in the private markets, it appears to already be well underway in the public markets with the average small-cap stock in the Russell 2000 down more than 33% from its 52-week high.
In the meantime, for those who managed to get off the island in time or passed on visiting the island altogether (i.e., those who took less risk, did not get overextended, and/or have plenty of cash on hand), it might make sense to spend time trying to make a distinction between those that will eventually get off and those that will not, because when those that get off do, they will likely be available for very attractive prices.bankruptcies yield curve fed congress interest rates canada
Undeniable Toxic Ingredients In HPV Vaccines
Undeniable Toxic Ingredients In HPV Vaccines
Authored by Yuhong Dong via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
In the series, "The HPV Vaccine:…
Authored by Yuhong Dong via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
In the series, "The HPV Vaccine: A Double-Edged Sword?" we will provide documented evidence of death and severe injuries linked with Gardasil, analyze the root cause of its harm, and offer solutions.
Let's shift the lens to the beautiful Pyrenees in Europe where sheep were cherished for their wool, nourishment, and companionship. However, a mysterious sheep illness occurred around a decade ago.
Mysterious Post-Vaccine Sheep Illness
In August 2006, an outbreak of bluetongue disease quickly spread to European countries causing a state of emergency.
Bluetongue disease, caused by bluetongue virus (BTV), affects ruminants, mainly sheep, with symptoms of fever, hemorrhages, depression, edemas, and generalized cyanosis, easily observed on the tongue, which explains the disease name.
The totally unexpected outbreak caused by a newly emerged BTV serotype led to a massive compulsory European vaccination campaign implemented between 2007 and 2010. The administered vaccine contained a new ingredient not used in previous BTV vaccines—aluminum (Al)—with 2.08 milligrams per milliliter as the adjuvant, in addition to inactivated BTV.
The campaign seemed to effectively halt viral spreading, however, during the same vaccination period, a series of previously unreported severe diseases emerged in France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and Spain, featuring weakness and various neurological symptoms. Veterinarians were stumped, as no known disease explained the tragedy.
Sheep Study Identifies the Problem
Dr. Lluis Lujan, an associate professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Zaragoza in Spain, conducted a sheep study to determine the cause of the unusual diseases.
A total of 21 sheep were assigned into three groups (red, yellow, and green) with seven in each group as follows:
- The red group received commercial sheep vaccines containing aluminum hydroxide.
- The yellow group received the equivalent dose of aluminum dissolved in water (Alhydrogel®, an aluminum-based adjuvant).
- The green group was administered a neutral saltwater solution.
Surprisingly, both the animals from the red and yellow groups became significantly more aggressive and showed more stereotypes and higher stress.
The detected level of aluminum found in the lymph nodes in the lumbar spinal cord was much higher in both the aluminum-only (yellow) and the vaccine group (red) compared with the control group, indicating that aluminum created an extra burden needing to be processed by the sheep.
This explained the phenomenon that the sheep illness occurred only after the aluminum was added to the vaccine as an adjuvant. "So for me, yes—the reason why the animals get sick after vaccination is how the body deals with aluminum," Dr. Lujan stated in a documentary film "Under the Skin," available on Epoch TV.
The idea is not only about sheep. We are looking for something that could be happening in humans.
'Placebo' Trial Participant Had 40+ Symptoms
The Phase 3 clinical trial for Gardasil (FUTURE II study) began in 2002. A particularly large number of participants were recruited in Denmark.
Gardasil clinical trial participant, Sesilje Petersen, developed severe fatigue and a total of 40 symptoms after the second and third shots.
"It was the biggest problem because I was a student at the university and it was very difficult for me to attend the classes as I fell asleep almost daily," Sesilje said. "I wrote a list with all my symptoms—there were more than 40 symptoms, and some of them had been severe. I had a tumor on my pituitary gland."
"I received a letter and was invited to this study and it sounded very interesting. So I decided to participate," recalled Sesilje.
Sesilje kept the information brochure that the participants received at the beginning of the study. It said that the vaccination had already been carefully tested for safety and did not have any serious side effects.
The information about the placebo turned out to be a lie. "It says here that the placebo was saline—the Danish word for saltwater," she said.
Aluminum: A Toxin in Vaccines for 90 Years
Sesilje's "saline" placebo contained something highly unusual—aluminum (Al), an adjuvant commonly used in modern vaccines.
She was obviously misinformed about the study design and was unaware of what she was receiving. Prior to participating in the Gardasil study, Sesilje knew that she could not tolerate deodorants containing aluminum.
"We were not informed about the use of aluminum. The word aluminum was not given to us either in the procedure or in their phone consent form." Sesilje said.
In fact, a study by Doshi et al. found that participants in the Gardasil trials were not adequately informed that the placebo was amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate (AAHS). The trial participants were told they could receive a "placebo" without being informed of noninert ingredients (AAHS). This raises serious ethical concerns about the trial conduct.
Aluminum was first used in human vaccines in 1932 and was the only adjuvant used in licensed vaccines for approximately 70 years. This controversial compound is still used as an adjuvant in vaccines, however, what is its actual role?
Aluminum is the third most abundant metal in the earth’s crust and is widely present in the environment—in plants, soil, water, air, food, and pharmaceuticals. It is present in an ionic form as Al3+.
The absorption of aluminum depends on several factors such as the pH level and the presence of organic acids (citrate, lactate). It is absorbed in a proportion of only 0.1 to 0.3 percent by the gastrointestinal tract in the upper intestine.
However, when aluminum is injected into our muscles in the formulation of a vaccine, it is nearly 100 percent absorbed. It then travels and crosses the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in our brain and other organs.
Aluminum is especially harmful to our brain and nerves, as it plays multiple roles in the clumping of harmful substances (β-amyloid, tau protein) in the brain, leads to the death of brain-protective cells called astrocytes, and disrupts the "protective wall" around the brain resulting in more vulnerability to harmful substances.
Christopher Exley, an English professor of bioinorganic chemistry, is one of the most knowledgeable and widely-cited aluminum researchers in the world, with over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers published on aluminum and over 12,000 citations.
Renal failure patients dialyzed have developed encephalitis linked to excessive brain buildup of aluminum. Those who passed away had a tenfold higher level of aluminum in gray matter, leading to fatal brain diseases in 30 to 50 percent of cases. Their brain symptoms were correlated with their blood aluminum levels, including issues of speech, coordination, cognition, and fatal seizures.
Dietary absorbed ionic aluminum can leave our body through the kidneys, however, most antigen-aluminum mixtures in vaccines are too large for the kidneys to expel out of our body. Accordingly, vaccine aluminum exposure poses a much higher safety risk than dietary aluminum.
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), a placebo is defined as "an inactive pill, liquid, or powder that has no treatment value." The well-established toxic properties of aluminum therefore suggest that aluminum cannot constitute a valid placebo.
Toxicity Makes Aluminum an Adjuvant
Almost all modern diseases have their origin in a disturbed immune system. No other drug intervenes in the immune system as intensively as vaccines. The role of vaccine components in human immunity is discussed without taboos in the scientific community.
The gold standard to evaluate the effectiveness of a vaccine is based on the antibody level generated. In the beginning, people were not satisfied with a pure inactivated virus to provoke an immune response and wanted to find a substance to help boost immunity and generate a more robust response with longer-sustained antibodies—that is the adjuvant.
Aluminum was found to be a strong adjuvant.
According to Mr. Exley, "The known toxicity of aluminum is almost certainly a contributor to the success of aluminum-based salts as adjuvants."
A 2016 Nature study provided insight into the cellular toxicity induced by aluminum used as an adjuvant in clinically-approved human vaccinations.
When we inject a vaccine with aluminum into the muscle, we can only imagine what physical and chemical reactions will be triggered. At the very beginning, there may be little response at the injection site. The only reaction may be due to the damage caused by the needle.
"When the vaccine is injected deeply into the muscle tissue, aluminum ions begin to dissolve and start attacking the surrounding cells," Mr. Exley stated in the documentary "Under the Skin."
"So depending upon that rate of dissolution, you will get the degree of cytotoxicity—cell toxicity," he said.
The aluminum ions kill our normal healthy cells and as those cells die, they release chemical messengers, which call for help from the other immune cells.
Immune cells react immediately and start to attack anything suspicious at the vaccination site. A fierce battle takes place.
It is only in the course of this inflammation triggered by aluminum that the silent antigens are now also taken seriously and are transported away by specialized immune cells. Those silent viral proteins are also identified by immune cells as enemies and specific antibodies are produced to bind them.
This new McDonald’s China menu item is a meat lover’s dream
The fast-food giant has delivered a new sandwich, and you might want to ask your doctor about it before you eat it.
While the Big Mac has the word "big" in it, McDonald's hasn't really staked a major claim as the fast-food chain for people looking for the meatiest sandwiches.
Wendy's, for example, has the Dave's Triple and the Big Bacon Classic Triple on its menu while it also lets customers order a burger with a total of four hamburger patties if they so choose.
The menu at Restaurant Brands International's (QSR) - Get Free Report Burger King features a Triple Whopper, which actually contains fewer calories (1,170) than the two-patty Bacon King. Burger King will also sell you a four-patty burger, but you have to make that order in person, not through the chain's app or website.
Wendy's does not appear to limit how many patties you can add to your sandwich, at least when you order through Uber Eats. In theory, if you want 25, or maybe 50, burger patties on your Baconator, the chain will allow it — although at some point wrapping the burger will become a problem.
For its part, McDonald's features a triple cheeseburger on its regular menu, but that's made from three regular-size (1.6-ounce or 45-gram) patties. The biggest item by meat weight is the Double Quarter Pounder, which offers a full half-pound of beef.
Like its rivals, MCD (probably) will sell you more burger patties if you ask at its counter. It allows extra patty sales through its app on some sandwiches, but not others. The chain also maxes out at three patties (although customers could likely order more in-person as there does not appear to be a policy preventing that).
All these burgers, however, pale in comparison to a massive sandwich the chain has been selling in China.
McDonald's builds a bigger Mac
McDonald's locations around the world — especially in Japan and China — seem to equate the American brand with massive burgers. A new burger from the chain's locations in China sets a new standard when it comes to massive sandwiches, although the burger patties do get some help/
"McDonald's China's Bu Su Zhi Ba Double Layer Beef Burger is a mouthful of meat that puts U.S. patties to shame. True to its name, which translates to German Sausage Double Beef Burger, this item packs two burger patties and two sausages between its buns. This gives customers a protein-heavy dish, with little more than a layer of mustard to round it out — it doesn't contain any of the more traditional McDonald's toppings like lettuce, tomato, or pickles," Mashed shared.
The fast-food giant has never offered sausages in its U.S. restaurants and it has only sold hot dogs on a very limited basis in the U.S. McDonald's founder was famously against the chain selling hot dogs because people would not know what was inside them.
China shows McDonald's the way
McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski actually visited some of his chain's locations in China this year. He talked about what he learned during the company's second-quarter earnings call.
"Visiting China truly brought to life the power of a highly digitized economy and our potential for global growth moving forward. With about 90% of our business currently coming through digital channels in that market, it was remarkable to see how the market has forged digital relationships with customers," he said.
Kempczinski was also impressed with other aspects of the company's operations in China.
"China is also making tremendous progress in running the restaurants more efficiently, all with the use of data and technology. This will provide great learnings for the rest of our system," he added.
The chain is also innovating in the delivery space in the market.
"Another recent example of innovation I was able to see firsthand during my visit to China is the use of food lockers at busy locations with high in-store traffic. Upon arrival, delivery couriers can quickly unlock the designated locker and grab the customer's order without even entering the restaurant, removing friction for both the kitchen and the courier," Kempczinski said.global growth pound japan china
Coca-Cola surprisingly ending most sales of Aha sparkling water
The beverage giant has decided to mostly walk away from one of its biggest bets in recent years.
Coca-Cola sells some of the most popular beverages in the world and it generally has the muscle to make any new products it sells successful.
Of course, there have been some pretty big Coca-Cola (KO) - Get Free Report failures in recent years where the company has tried to capitalize on a trend. Few people remember Vault, an effort to compete with rival PepsiCo's (PEP) - Get Free Report Mountain Dew. And 2009's Green Tea Coke never got enough attention to be remembered or forgotten.
The company's biggest recent failure, however, might be Coca-Cola Energy, an attempt to take on Monster and Red Bull. That drink lasted less than a year before the company pulled the plug.
It was a surprising move because the idea of Coca-Cola Energy made sense. It was an attempt by the No. 1 beverage company to leverage its namesake brand to get into the exploding energy-drink market.
Consumers, however, were never that interested. They may have sampled it, but the product was never popular enough to win enough market share for Coke to commit to the product long term.
That same script has repeated in another explosively growing market. Coca-Cola launched its Aha sparkling-water brand to compete with market leaders LaCroix and Pepsi's Bubly. It was a massive launch — Coca-Cola's first brand debut since 2006 — that simply never captured the public's attention.
Coca-Cola is largely winding down Aha
Sparkling water has been a growing category led by the massive success of LaCroix. It makes sense that Coca-Cola wanted to get in on the trend, but Aha has not made a significant market impact. The company thus has decided to wind down, but not fully eliminate, the brand.
"In 2024, the beverages will only be available in 'focused channels' and in Coca-Cola Freestyle machines, and will continue to be sold in Canada," the beverage giant told Food Dive.
Coca-Cola isn't giving up on sparkling water. The company intends to focus its attention on growing its premium Topo Chico brand in the same space.
Sales have fallen for Aha, which replaced Coca-Cola's previous effort in the sparkling-water space, Dasani Sparkling. The brand has less than a 2% share of the total market.
Coca-Cola executives have said that they believe Topo Chico can become the company's next billion-dollar brand. The company recently launched a hard-seltzer, an alcoholic version of the popular brand.
Coca-Cola sees some headwinds
Coca-Cola sales were flat by volume in the second quarter. Chief Executive James Quincey explained why in the company's Q2-earnings call.
"We have seen some willingness to switch to private-label brands in certain categories," he said. "Across the sector, consumers are increasingly cost-conscious. They're looking for value and stocking up on items on sale."
Quincey believes that Coca-Cola is well-positioned to handle the current market.
"Our pricing is largely in place and is expected to moderate as we cycle pricing initiatives from the prior year. It's more important than ever to be consumer-centric and to partner with customers to provide affordable and premium propositions, which deliver value through basket and incidence growth," he added.
And, while the company has been focused on growing sales outside soda, its namesake beverage continues to be a major driver.
"During the quarter, we gained volume and value share by linking Coca-Cola to consumption occasions and engaging consumers through local experiences. A great example is our Recipe for Magic, which was activated in more than 50 markets and celebrates consuming Coca-Cola with meals," he said.
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