The latest proposal, which passed the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, works like this: If you change corporate pension funding rules to let companies set aside less money today to pay for future benefits, they will report higher taxable profits. And if they have higher taxable profits, they will pay more in taxes over the 10-year budget window that Congress uses to write laws. Those added taxes can be diverted to the Federal Highway Trust Fund.
“Many countries are urbanizing at lower levels of development” than in the past, said John R. Wilmoth, the director of the population division of the United Nations. As people leave the countryside because of decreasing need for agricultural workers, he said, the important question will be whether cities have an industrial economy that can provide jobs and an infrastructure that can allow the new residents to live in acceptable conditions.
Lei Zhao is a doctoral candidate at Yale University who has spent five years investigating the factors that influence this effect. “It’s generally a hot topic,” he says. “People have been talking about urban heat islands for a long time. Through my readings of the literature, I found a number of studies talking about the different factors that contribute. But it was still unclear which ones contribute how much to the problem.”
Does this signal a new trend? It could be, but more time is needed to get this confirmed. In the short run, it is clear that the traditional trend has been broken. Gold and silver being bid as safe havens is the most plausible explanation, given the recent rumblings in Europe, the instability in Iraq, the turmoil in Syria and Israel. Add to this the bearish undertone vis-à-vis the outlook of the US Dollar, created by the emerging markets (read: Putin) with the growing number of non US Dollar denominated (energy) contracts, and you have a cocktail of arguments to support the metals.
To which extent the underlying driver is essentially fear or monetary aspects is really not clear at this point, at least not in our view.
Focusing on Food Miles is a Mistake (Eric G.)
My goal with this post isn’t necessarily to pull the rug out from beneath the local food movement, but rather to encourage ‘foodies’ to reconsider how their movement can fit within a broader goal of reducing energy use within food systems. Focusing on reducing food miles is a mistake, and to see a meaningful reduction in energy demand throughout the food system will require a far broader approach.
These Companies Own All the Food Brands (jdargis)
These 10 mega-companies own much of what you’ll find in your local supermarket. Zoom in and you’ll find some unlikely food cousins.
Raising Backyard Chickens for Dummies (jdargis)
I should have known better than to attempt to build a chicken coop without a plan. I had dreams of creating an affordable coop using scrap wood and old wine cases for siding that could be wheeled around the yard as needed. $500 and about 60 hours of labor later — I have built a battleship. Yes, it’s pretty, but completely overbuilt and inefficient. The wheels sit on my porch, unable to bear the weight of the massive amounts of lumber and nails that went into this bad boy.
Lesson learned. Saltbox Designs in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle creates beautiful chicken coops (among other things) at an affordable price. Go there and save yourself the time and frustration of realizing you are likely not adept at carpentry or building anything.
The conclusions in the new report run counter to those of a similar analysis published two years ago by Stanford scientists, who found few differences in the nutritional content of organic and conventionally grown foods. Those scientists said the small differences that did exist were unlikely to influence the health of the people who chose to buy organic foods, which are usually more expensive.
Gold & Silver
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