Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Domino Tournament at the Marlins Stadium: Saturday, August 1st.,

The Way Humans Get Electricity Is About to Change Forever

The renewable-energy boom is here. Trillions of dollars will be invested over the next 25 years, driving some of the most profound changes yet in how humans get their electricity. That's according to a new forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets to 2040. 

Here are six massive shifts coming soon to power markets near you:

1. Solar Prices Keep Crashing

The price of solar power will continue to fall, until it becomes the cheapest form of power in a rapidly expanding number of national markets. By 2026, utility-scale solar will be competitive for the majority of the world, according to BNEF. The lifetime cost of a photovoltaic solar-power plant will drop by almost half over the next 25 years, even as the prices of fossil fuels creep higher.
Solar power will eventually get so cheap that it will outcompete new fossil-fuel plants and even start to supplant some existing coal and gas plants, potentially stranding billions in fossil-fuel infrastructure. The industrial age was built on coal. The next 25 years will be the end of its dominance.  

2. Solar Billions Become Solar Trillions

With solar power so cheap, investments will surge. Expect $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Solar alone will account for more than a third of new power capacity worldwide. Here's how that looks on a chart, with solar appropriately dressed in yellow and fossil fuels in pernicious gray:  
Electricity capacity additions, in gigawatts
Source: BNEF

3. The Revolution Will Be Decentralized 

The biggest solar revolution will take place on rooftops. High electricity prices and cheap residential battery storage will make small-scale rooftop solar ever more attractive, driving a 17-fold increase in installations. By 2040, rooftop solar will be cheaper than electricity from the grid in every major economy, and almost 13 percent of electricity worldwide will be generated from small-scale solar systems. 
Rooftop (small-scale) solar in yellow. Renewables account for about two-thirds of investment over the next 25 years

4. Global Demand Slows

Yes, the world is inundated with mobile phones, flat screen TVs, and air conditioners. But growth in demand for electricity is slowing. The reason: efficiency. To cram huge amounts of processing power into pocket-sized gadgets, engineers have had to focus on how to keep those gadgets from overheating. That's meant huge advances in energy efficiency. Switching to an LED light bulb, for example, can reduce electricity consumption by more than 80 percent. 

So even as people rise from poverty to middle class faster than ever, BNEF predicts that global electricity consumption will remain relatively flat. In the next 25 years, global demand will grow about 1.8 percent a year, compared with 3 percent a year from 1990 to 2012. In wealthy OECD countries, power demand will actually decline.  

This watercolor chart compares economic growth to energy efficiency. Each color represents a country or region. As economies get richer, growth requires less power

5. Natural Gas Burns Briefly

Natural gas won't become the oft-idealized "bridge fuel" that transitions the world from coal to renewable energy, according to BNEF. The U.S. fracking boom will help bring global prices down some, but few countries outside the U.S. will replace coal plants with natural gas. Instead, developing countries will often opt for some combination of coal, gas, and renewables.  

Even in the fracking-rich U.S., wind power will be cheaper than building new gas plants by 2023, and utility-scale solar will be cheaper than gas by 2036.

Fossil fuels aren't going to suddenly disappear. They'll retain a 44 percent share of total electricity generation in 2040 (down from two thirds today), much of which will come from legacy plants that are cheaper to run than shut down. Developing countries will be responsible for 99 percent of new coal plants and 86 percent of new gas-fired plants between now and 2040, according to BNEF. Coal is clearly on its way out, but in developing countries that need to add capacity quickly, coal-power additions will be roughly equivalent to utility-scale solar. 

6. The Climate Is Still Screwed

The shift to renewables is happening shockingly fast, but not fast enough to prevent perilous levels of global warming.

About $8 trillion, or two thirds of the world's spending on new power capacity over the next 25 years, will go toward renewables. Still, without additional policy action by governments, global carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector will continue to rise until 2029 and will remain 13 percent higher than today's pollution levels in 2040.

That's not enough to prevent the surface of the Earth from heating more than 2 degrees Celsius, according to BNEF. That's considered the point-of-no-return for some worst consequences of climate change. 

CO2 emissions from the power sector don't peak until 2029
Source: BNEF

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The top 10 tech CEOs as rated by employees (TechRepublic)

Career community website Glassdoor recently released its Employees' Choice Awards for the Highest Rated CEOs in 2015. Here are the top 10 in tech. 
 Image: iStockphoto/Jirsak
How much you like your job often depends heavily on the leadership at your company. Feeling like the CEO is piloting the company in the right direction and you're apart of something bigger than yourself can make your work much more rewarding.
Technology companies are known for the eccentricity and guile of their CEOs. Whether in a three-piece suit or a hooded sweatshirt, tech CEOs often have the ability of attracting top talent based on the way they express their vision.
Recently, career resource site Glassdoor released its Employees' Choice Awards for the Highest Rated CEOs in 2015 and many of the top spots were held by CEOs of technology companies. The results were gathered from employee reviews submitted between April 2014 and April 2015, and CEOs were given a percentage approval rating by employees of the company.
Here are the top 10 tech CEOs that made the list.

Larry Page, Google - 97%

At 97% approval, Google's Larry Page was also no. 1 on the list of CEOs overall. A co-founder of the company with Sergey Brin, Page was initially the CEO early in the company but stepped down in 2001 amid pressure from investors. On April 4, 2011, he resumed the role of CEO at Google. Last year, Page took the 10th position on the list with a 93% approval rating.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook - 95%

The hooded sweatshirt-clad Mark Zuckerberg is the archetypal young tech CEO in Silicon valley. His 95% approval lands him at no. 4 on the overall CEO list from Glassdoor. Often referred to as a programming prodigy, Zuckerberg founded Facebook in 2004 where he remains its chairman and CEO.

Scott Scherr, Ultimate Software 95%

In 1990, Scott Scherr became the president and CEO of Ultimate Software, a company that provides human capital management (HCM) software tools for businesses. In many of the company reviews, Scherr was described as "down to earth" and as having a "people first" approach. His 95% approval puts him at no. 5 on the overall CEO list.

Tim Cook, Apple - 94%

Tom Cook succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011, a few months before Jobs' death. Cook was originally recruited by Jobs to work for Apple in 1998 and he has previously served as interim CEO when Jobs took a medical leave in 2009. During Cook's tenure, Apple's charity donations and sustainability efforts have increased. At 94% approval, he is no. 10 on the overall list.

Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia - 94%

Originally born in Tehran, Iran, Dara Khosrowshahi has served as the CEO of travel deals site Expedia since 2005. Khosrowshahi sits at no. 11 on Glassdoor's overall CEO list with 94$ employee approval. In 2013 he received the Ernst & Young Pacific Northwest Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn - 93%

Taking the no. 12 spot on the Employees' Choice Awards CEO list is Jeff Weiner of professional networking site LinkedIn. While he received a 93% approval rating on this list in 2015, he actually dropped seven percent from his previous position, meaning he received a 100% approval rating and the no. 1 spot on the 2014 list by Glassdoor. After serving as LinkedIn's interim president in 2008, he became CEO in 2009.

Marc Benioff, Salesforce - 92%

Marc Benioff is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Salesforce.com, which he founded alongside Parker Harris in 1999. He is no. 21 on the list with a 92% approval rating and is known for his outspoken nature in leading the company. Benioff is also known for his philanthropy, both personally and through his company. He organized Salesforce.com in a way that it donates 1% of profits, 1% of equity, and 1% of employee hours to charity.

Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp - 91%

Number 22 on the list with a 91% approval rating is Yelp CEO, Jeremy Stoppelman. He is an original member of the PayPal Mafia and founded the company in 2004 alongside Russel Simmons, after receiving an initial investment from Max Levchin. After turning down an acquisition offer from Google, Stoppelman filed for an IPO to take the company public in 2011.

Frank D'Souza, Cognizant Technology Solutions - 91%

Francisco (Frank) D'Souza was part of the founding team of Cognizant Technology Solutions in 1994 and has served as its CEO since January 2007. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya, but has lived in nine different countries. He has won numerous awards for entrepreneurship and he received a 91% approval, landing him at no. 33 on the overall CEO list.

Thomas E. Richards, CDW - 91%

Rounding out the top 10 tech CEOs is CDW's Thomas E. Richards, who got a 91% approval rating and holds the no. 34 spot on the overall CEO list. Richards joined CDW as president and COO in 2009, but became president and CEO in 2011. Many Glassdoor reviews praised the company's culture and benefits for employees.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Chinese dog meat festival under way, protesters muzzled

Image result for Dog meat festival in China

YULIN, CHINA: Campaigners protesting China's annual dog meat festival, which sees thousands of canines butchered and eaten, were forcibly dispersed by unidentified men Monday as they attempted to rally outside a government office.

About 10 animal rights activists unfurled banners outside the Yulin government headquarters, before a group of 20 men came and chased them off.

The city holds an annual festival on the summer solstice devoted to the consumption of dog meat, in defiance of an increasing backlash from animal rights activists.

The campaigners held signs reading "Crack Down on Illegal Dog Meat Trade" and "Punish Illegal Dog Transport", but the banners were quickly torn out of their hands by the unidentified group of men.

The slogans are an attempt to appeal to local government officials to enforce existing laws on health and administrative grounds, as there are no rules banning the consumption of dog meat.

The majority of "meat dogs" in the country are stolen pets and strays, according to an investigation published this month by Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia, though eating dog is unusual in most parts of China.

A dog vendor carries dogs in a cage on his bicycle in Dashichang dog market on the day of local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region. (Reuters Photo)

Meanwhile, in another part of Yulin, traders openly sold dogs off the back of scooters as hundreds gathered at a market. Many dogs were kept in tightly packed cages.

Activists, who say the festival is cruel, have in the past travelled to the city to hold demonstrations, sometimes buying dogs to save them from the cooking pots.

One animal lover, Yang Xiaoyun, reportedly paid about 7,000 yuan (US$1,100) to save around 100 dogs in the southern city of Yulin on Saturday.

Dogs for sale are seen in Dashichang dog market ahead of a local dog meat festival in Yulin, Guangxi Autonomous Region. (Reuters Photo)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Camino a acuerdo con Europa (El País, Uruguay)

El gobierno tiene la impresión de que ahora sí es posible que el Mercosur salga de su inoperancia y aislamiento y cierre un acuerdo con la Unión Europea (UE) que le permita finalmente ampliar sus horizontes comerciales, tan restringidos recientemente.
Rousseff y Vázquez ayer luego de la cumbre en Brasilia. Foto: O Globo / GDA
JUAN PABLO CORREAvie may 22 2015

Dilma Rousseff, presidente de Brasil, el "líder natural" como lo llamó ayer el ministro de Economía, Danilo Astori, le dejó bien en claro a Tabaré Vázquez en Brasilia que el acuerdo es una prioridad para su gobierno y quiere que se cierre este año.
Vázquez realizó ayer un viaje relámpago a Brasilia con Astori, el canciller Rodolfo Nin Novoa y la ministra de Industria, Carolina Cosse. Compartió un almuerzo y un brindis con Rousseff y volvió sobre las 20.30 a la Base Aérea N° 1. En la reunión se conversó de varios temas bilaterales aunque el punto central es la posibilidad cierta de que finalmente las conversaciones con la UE salgan del letargo de los últimos 20 años. Vázquez no habló con la prensa a su llegada a Montevideo y delegó en sus ministros la tarea de informar sobre la reunión con Rousseff.
Nin Novoa no ahorró adjetivos para describir la importancia del claro pronunciamiento brasileño: dijo que era "una gran noticia", una "novedad absoluta" y que "estamos muy reconfortados, muy satisfechos". Especificó que Uruguay ya tiene definido que ofertará abrir a la competencia europea la gran mayoría de los ítems arancelarios, más del 92%.
En este tema Brasil, Uruguay y Paraguay "están exactamente en el mismo rumbo", aseguró Astori. Argentina "no va a quedar afuera, no queremos que quede afuera", complementó Nin Novoa, pero la forma en que se sumará será objeto de discusión. Por lo pronto, la modalidad de la participación de Argentina será objetivo de reuniones bilaterales entre ese país y Brasil. Y Argentina ya planteó que pretende contar con un período "de gracia" de ocho años para postergar la exposición de algunos de sus sectores de actividad a la competencia europea. De esta forma, se aceptaría el tantas veces mencionado concepto de las "dos velocidades" que de hecho la UE ya aceptó cuando cerró un acuerdo con la Comunidad Andina. Se quiere "respetar los tiempos de Argentina", explicó Nin.
Hace una década Brasil vetó la posibilidad de que Uruguay tuviese flexibilidad para acordar con Estados Unidos, pero ahora todo cambió. La administración Rousseff sí tendría interés en este momento en que el Mercosur se abra más al mundo porque su cancillería y la clase empresarial brasileña habrían percibido que ni el mercado interno ni la región alcanzan para sustentar un crecimiento vigoroso.
Cuando nació el Mercosur, Brasil, pese a la renuencia uruguaya, insistió para que existiese un Arancel Externo Común alto, o sea una muralla defensiva contra las importaciones de fuera de la región.
Ahora Astori, que lleva años criticando el Mercosur y pidiendo que se abra más al mundo, considera que la postura brasileña "es la flexibilidad que tanto reclamamos". Un eventual acuerdo con la UE sería "fundamental para concretar otros acuerdos". Además servirá para acumular información que pueda ser útil a la hora de negociar el acuerdo de liberalización del comercio de servicios, el polémico TISA. Es que las tratativas con la UE, se preocupó de explicar Astori, incluirán no solamente bienes sino también servicios. Uruguay determinará "intereses defensivos", o sea que definirá algunos sectores a los que preservará de la competencia europea. Seguramente, algunos de ellos serán la refinación e importación de combustible y la telefonía básica que en Uruguay son un monopolio del Estado. La definición precisa de las características de la oferta corresponderá a equipos técnicos ministeriales que se reunirán en las próximas semanas.
Históricamente, Europa ha buscado preservar de la competencia a sus agricultores que serían los que tendrían más para perder por la competencia de los eficientes productores agropecuarios latinoamericanos.
Astori dijo a El País que ahora hay indicios de que la UE está dispuesta a flexibilizar esa posición. "Ahí va a ser fundamental lo que haga Francia", señaló, en referencia a que ese país ha sido históricamente el abanderado del proteccionismo agrícola. El ministro reconoció que también la industria latinoamericana tendrá que estar dispuesta a adaptarse.


Lo que más entusiasma a los ministros es que parece haber un cronograma para el proceso. El 11 de junio, se reunirán los cancilleres de la Comunidad de Estados Latinoamericanos y Caribeños (Celac, que incluye obviamente al Mercosur) en Bruselas y quizás allí se pueda determinar con más precisión la voluntad de acordar de las partes.
El 17 de julio, en Brasilia, habrá una cumbre de los presidentes del bloque que también puede marcar un hito en este proceso con el que Brasil ahora parece haberse comprometido fuertemente.
Vázquez quiere que la oferta de la propuesta del Mercosur a la UE se presente en la mencionada reunión de Bruselas. Su visión crítica del Mercosur quedó ayer bien clara. "Tenemos que rescatarlo, reanimarlo, fortalecerlo y colocarlo al servicio de sus países y, fundamentalmente, al servicio de nuestros pueblos. Si nuestros pueblos no sienten que el Mercosur sirve para mejorar la vida cotidiana, para poco servirán nuestras mejores intenciones", sostuvo en Brasilia.
El principal exportador europeo a Uruguay es Alemania, país de fortísima industria, del cual provinieron en 2014 el 4,1% de las importaciones locales. Ningún país de la UE figura entre los cinco principales destinos de las exportaciones uruguayas. El primero es Alemania, en el lugar siete. Recibió en 2014 el 3,4% de las exportaciones uruguayas.
Un 80% de las ventas de la UE a Uruguay son productos manufacturados (químicos, maquinaria, vehículos). La UE importa principalmente productos primarios desde Uruguay, en especial carnes (30%), cueros (10%) y soja (10%). También compra madera, pescado, arroz, lana y cítricos. El 25% de sus exportaciones de carne van a la UE. Uruguay tiene una cuota de alta calidad (la Hilton, de 6.300 toneladas anuales).


UE: Brasil pone su peso en la búsqueda de un acuerdo.

En 1995 comenzaron en Madrid las conversaciones para un acuerdo Mercosur-UE que desde entonces languidecieron. Pero el bloque europeo negocia ahora con Estados Unidos. Y la posibilidad de que las empresas brasileñas queden en desventaja frente a las estadounidenses en el mercado europeo también debe haber contribuido al viraje en la estrategia norteña. El Mercosur no ha cerrado recientemente acuerdos de relevancia.

Autopartes: Plantearon mayor apertura a Brasil.

La ministra de Industria, Carolina Cosse, planteó 10 puntos a las autoridades brasileñas. El principal de ellos es que Uruguay pretende el acceso irrestricto de sus autopartes a Brasil libres de aranceles. Uruguay y Brasil tienen un acuerdo automotor a través del cual las exportaciones de vehículos sin aranceles desde el país norteño al mercado local generan una cuota de libre ingreso de autopartes uruguayas al país norteño.

Energía: Inédita compra de electricidad uruguaya.

Brasil comunicó a Uruguay que a partir de ayer habilitó la compra de energía eléctrica de origen uruguayo a través de la conexión de extra alta tensión San Carlos-Presidente Médici. Sería la primera vez que Brasil compraría energía a otro país, destacó Cosse. Por otra parte, en el encuentro presidencial se acordó que ambos países construirán un nuevo puente sobre el río Yaguarón y será reparado el puente "Barón de Mauá".

Monday, June 15, 2015


A tactical victory for Exim's Senate supporters was achieved yesterday.  

A test vote on the Senate bipartisan reauthorization bill was conducted with a move to attach the bill to the NDAA by amendment.  The vote was 65 to 31 in favor of Exim reauthorization.  The amendment was tabled by Exim proponents after Senate positions were made public.  

This "show vote" will strengthen an actual attachment vote at a later date.  The problem remains that an attachment vehicle will not come up for vote before June 30, so we are faced with a charter lapse of indeterminate length.  That's why we and your customers can't succumb to fatigue, and pressure on Congress with continued messages and tweets to representatives must continue.

Exporters Association of United States of America
                            (305) 992-7283

Friday, June 5, 2015

Soon, This Is How You'll Get to Cuba (BusinessWeek)

American tourists are coming. For airlines and ferry services, it will be the 1950s all over again

Varadero Beach, Cuba. Just imagine all the sunburned American tourists.

The U.S. travel industry has spent more than a half-century gazing over a narrow stretch of sea at Cuba, the once and future vacation paradise located just a 45-minute jaunt from one of America's busiest airports.
A presidential declaration in December started the gradual normalization of relations—just last week, in a sign of progress, the U.S. removed Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terrorism—and touched off a rush in the tourism trade. Airbnb accommodations in Cuba, called casas particulares, have doubled to 2,000 since early April, when the lodging company announced its entry into the communist country. As diplomatic negotiations proceed, airlines, cruise lines, and ferry operators are salivating just offstage over the potential size of the U.S.-Cuba travel market.
“If something changed tomorrow, we have everything we need to fly,” says Scott Laurence, senior vice president of network planning at JetBlue Airways, which has been flying charters to Cuba from two Florida cities since 2011 and will start offering Cuban charter flights from New York on July 3. The U.S. Treasury currently authorizes 12 categories of travel to Cuba, including family visits, religious and athletic trips, professional research, journalism, and humanitarian projects.
For almost everyone else in the U.S. unwilling to deal with the illegality of circumventing the 1961 trade embargo, the Caribbean island has remained just out of reach—and therefore a blank canvas for those marketing tropical beaches, robust cigars, old-fashioned cars, and daiquiris served at Ernest Hemingway's old haunts. Even Cuba's economic system, unfamiliar to denizens of the world’s largest economy, could become part of the vacation pitch.
Havana, Peninsular & Occidental S.S. Co.
Source: Jim Heimann Collection
But first the gringos have to get there. The Cuban government predicts 10 million Americans will visit each year after travel opens in full, according to Craig Snyder, president of the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, a nonprofit educational group that hosted a public event with two Cuban diplomats last month. That number would mark a 10-fold increase over the 1 million projected U.S. visitors for 2015 under newly liberalized rules for American citizens; tourism and business investment in Cuba are still prohibited under U.S. law. Cuba now draws about 3 million total foreign visitors annually, most of them from Canada and Western Europe. Tourist arrivals are up 14 percent this year over the same period in 2014, with an influx of Canadians accounting for much of the gains, according to data released by Cuba's National Office of Statistics last week.
All flights from the U.S. to Cuba at the moment come through charter trips in which an airline leases its plane and crew to an independent operator. This arrangement, in which the charter operator sells tickets, offers guaranteed profit for the carriers. It has also allowed major airlines to learn some of the logistics of flying to Cuba. Even after a 54-year trade embargo, the charter flights eliminate any uncertainty about which Cuban agencies can arrange jet fuel purchases or how to deal with a mechanical problem on the ground in Havana.
The Air-Way to Havana, Pan American Airways.
Source: Jim Heimann Collection
JetBlue, already in the process of building Fort Lauderdale into a “focus city,” wants to become the first U.S. carrier to resume scheduled service to Cuba once both governments give the green light. American Airlines, with nearly two dozen weekly charters, also counts itself as “anxious to start serving Cuba” when allowed, American President Scott Kirby told reporters in January. Delta Air Lines scrapped its charter runs to Cuba in 2012, citing low profits, but remains ready to return to the market: “We learned what we needed to learn about operating in Cuba for possible future commercial service,” Mike Lowry, general manager of Delta’s charter operations, wrote in a recent company newsletter. Just last month, however, Delta flew a Minnesota symphony orchestra to perform in Havana.
A smaller player, Miami-based startup Eastern Airlines, is using charter flights as a way to help bolster its finances and gain operating experience ahead of its debut of regular scheduled service. Eastern announced last month that it would operate 65 new charter flights per month from Miami to three cities in Cuba, including two daily runs to Havana. American tourists, of course, have sneaked into Cuba for decades via Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, or other nations unaffected by the U.S. embargo. For those Americans allowed to travel directly to Cuba, round-trip charter fares start at about $400 from South Florida for what is a very brief flight.
Cuba's Coming Tourist Boom
It didn't used to be this difficult or expensive to spend a holiday in Havana. Cuba was a casino-filled playground for American travelers throughout the 1950s, with plentiful short flights by Pan American and National Airlines out of Miami, Braniff Air Lines from Houston, Mackey Airlines from Fort Lauderdale, and a daily Delta nonstop from New Orleans. (PanAm’s first flight, in fact, was a 1927 mail run between Key West and Havana.) A Cuban airline, Cubana de Aviation, also flew daily to Miami and New York City.
The air routes faced competition from a flotilla of commercial ferries crossing the Straits of Florida, embarking each day from Tampa, Miami, Palm Beach, and Key West. The 1950s-era cars that today symbolize Cuban street life for many Americans—then in brand-new condition—floated back and forth aboard those ferries. That traffic could soon return, minus the vintage cars: The U.S. Treasury recently granted licenses to a half-dozen ferry operators to begin serving Cuba. Industry observers expect the new boats to be popular thanks to more generous baggage allowances than the airlines and, at least at first, more reasonable prices.
“We are constantly asked, ‘When will the ferry be running,’” one operator, Havana Ferry Partners, posted on its Facebook page last month. The company plans high-speed service from Fort Lauderdale. America Cruise Ferries plans to operate three trips per week from Miami to Havana and hopes to start service this year, said James Whisenand, an attorney for the San Juan (Puerto Rico)-based company. He said the nine-hour overnight trip is expected to cost about $450, comparable to charter flights.
Even with their recent charter experience, Cuba remains a bit of a black box for airline planners. There’s none of the traffic, fare, or population data that helps to undergird most new routes elsewhere in the region. What’s the likely midweek demand? How elastic are ticket prices? Without deep data for a new route, the industry's conventional pricing procedure falls apart. “With Cuba, it’s really unsettling because we don’t have our safety blanket of data,” JetBlue's Laurence says over lunch at a pub near the airline's headquarters in Queens, N.Y.
The robust interest in luggage that the ferry services see as an edge also presents a challenge for airlines accustomed to the lighter-traveling habits formed in the pay-for-baggage era. Flights to Cuba will generally involve larger planes, as many travelers with local family will pack many of the goods that can’t be purchased on the island.
Another wrinkle: Flights to Cuba are likely to be regulated by the type of bilateral agreements that permit access to many other constrained airports, such as those in Beijing, London, New York, and Tokyo. Flights to those cities are closely coordinated to ensure capacity limits aren’t breached. As a result, American or United almost certainly won’t be scheduling flights to Cuba from wherever the company chooses, nor are the airlines likely to be able to fly whenever they please.
Pan American Airways terminal building in Miami in 1940.
Source: Library of Congress
Some of the limits will likely come from the on-the-ground reality of Cuba. Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson predicted dismal infrastructure would provide an upper limit on tourism. “I mean, Cuba has no infrastructure. It doesn't have a real economy," he recently told the Associated Press. "How do we think this suddenly is going to support dozens and dozens of nonstop flights a day?" A Delta spokesman, Anthony Black, says the airline “looks forward to serving the market when the opportunity becomes available.”
Cuba is likewise eager for U.S. investment but also wants to maintain control over the influx of money so that its economic and political system won't be overwhelmed by capitalists on vacation. “They’re really trying to have it both ways at the moment,” says Snyder of the World Affairs Council, describing the objective of the Cuban government as a “kind of gated development.”
One possible way Cuban officials could hinder any rapid transformations might be to welcome cruise ships—mobile hotels that bring their own infrastructure, contain their guests, and don’t stay too long. Many observers see the cruise industry as a way Cuba might ease into tourism with the U.S. All three of the major lines—Carnival, Royal Caribbean Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Line—have already expressed interest in adding Cuba to their itineraries.
Over time, travel companies will almost certainly face unforeseen challenges as they push into Cuba. “I think in the longer run it’s going to be a really delicate dance as to whether they can do it the way they want to do it,” Snyder says of the Cuban government. “As opposed to the way a lot of Americans are going to want it, which is very Wild West.”

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who’s Murdering Thousands of Chickens in South Carolina?

Somebody turned the fans off on 300,000 chickens to suffocate them—somebody who knows exactly how the industry worksThe chicken farm on Brewer Road, just south of the small  town of Manning in South Carolina, is hidden away down a series of winding country highways, between a patch of forest and an empty farm field. On the morning of Feb. 17 the farm’s owner, a Vietnamese immigrant named Hoangson Nguyen, was awakened by a frantic phone call. Nguyen, who goes by “Sonny,” raises birds under contract for Pilgrim’s Pride, the nation’s second-largest poultry company. An employee who checks the chicken houses each morning was shouting over the phone. Something was terribly wrong. 
Nguyen sped to the farm. That morning, when the farmhand opened the door to the first building, a sophisticated warehouse designed to hold about 20,000 birds, a column of steam had billowed out. Nguyen went into the control room and saw that the temperature inside was 122F. He entered the cavernous building. It was like a sauna: The giant circular fans used to cool the chicken house had been switched off. A set of electronic alarms had also been disabled. There were thousands of dead chickens on the ground, pressed up against the walls as if they’d tried to escape. They’d been smothered to death overnight in the intense heat. Nguyen knew immediately that this wasn’t an accident. Someone had killed his flock.
Nguyen is a typical chicken farmer: He owes the bank about $2 million for his farm, and he doesn’t have enough money for health insurance. He lives paycheck-to-paycheck, or “flock-to-flock,” as they say in the business. The moment he saw the dead birds, Nguyen knew he wouldn’t make any money this year. Whoever had killed these birds might very well have killed his farm. “I fell down right in front of the door,” he says. “I almost passed out.”
Nguyen’s farm wasn’t the only one hit that night. Three others also had their control systems sabotaged, killing the birds inside. Over the next week about 320,000 chickens died in attacks on farms throughout Clarendon County, in what appears to be the largest crime against industrial poultry farms in U.S. history. All the birds were owned by Pilgrim’s, which pays Nguyen and other farmers to raise the animals.
The dead birds were worth about $1.7 million to Pilgrim’s, but it was the farmers who suffered the most financially from the attacks. Each lost about $10,000 for every house of chickens killed. For people living flock-to-flock, it was a potentially ruinous blow, and one that can be understood only within the peculiar and brutal economics of chicken farming. Companies such as Pilgrim’s force contract farmers to compete against one another for their pay. One farmer’s bonus is taken directly from his neighbor’s paycheck. 
Temperature systems that had been tampered with proved fatal.

To police, this detail suggested a possible motive. Based on the highly precise manner in which the farms had been targeted and their poultry slaughtered, investigators quickly concluded that whoever was behind the attacks was intimately familiar with chicken farming. Within days of the midnight massacre, it became clear Nguyen and the others had been victimized by one of their own—a fellow farmer who’d come to see his neighbors, and their flocks, as the enemy.
Chicken houses targeted in the February attacks typically held 20,000 to 30,000 birds.
Sheriff Randy Garrett is the top lawman in Clarendon County. Garrett is more than 6 feet tall, with wide shoulders and piercing blue eyes. He uses a cane—he’s recovering from a recent car accident—but even with a pronounced limp he fills the room with his imposing presence when he walks in. In June he’s celebrating his 41st year on the force.
On Feb. 17, as Garrett’s deputies fielded calls from farmers who woke up to find their flocks had been killed, they learned that the attacker used different methods of slaughter. Full-grown birds like those on Nguyen’s farm were cooked to death. In farms that had baby chicks, which need high temperatures to simulate a brooding nest, the saboteur cut the heat. The chicks froze to death, piling up in a futile effort to stay warm and smothering those at the bottom of the heap. 
Then there were the alarms. Chicken houses are equipped with a variety of systems to alert farmers when machinery malfunctions; things can go wrong quickly when a house is crowded with 20,000 or 30,000 birds. Whoever disabled the alarms understood the farmers’ different systems, so no one was notified. 
Pilgrim’s Pride is owned by the Brazilian meatpacking conglomerate JBS, one of the largest meat companies in the world. Pilgrim’s, which reported $8.6 billion in revenue last year, does business with more than 4,000 contract farmers in the U.S. and Mexico. The farmers in Clarendon County all raise birds for a Pilgrim’s processing plant in Sumter, S.C. “We knew from the start that it had to be somebody that was disgruntled, mad, upset with Pilgrim’s,” Garrett says. “This is not somebody just riding by [who] just randomly said: ‘You know, I’m going to create havoc a little bit and go kill me some birds.’ … You had to have inside knowledge.”
Garrett got a crash course on the confusing structure of modern poultry farming. Here’s how it works: A farmer such as Nguyen borrows money to build a farm. Then he signs a contract with a company like Pilgrim’s, which is called an “integrator” because it owns virtually every aspect of production, including hatcheries, feed mills, slaughterhouses, and trucking lines—everything but the chicken houses and the land they stand on. The integrators deliver the chickens, bring the feed, and even provide medicine for the birds if needed. The farmer’s job is to baby-sit the animals and make sure the heating and feeding systems are working. After about six weeks or so, the integrator picks the birds up for slaughter, sending the farmer a paycheck for his work.
In the eyes of the law, Pilgrim’s Pride was the primary victim of the chicken house attacks because it owned the birds. But Pilgrim’s wasn’t like any crime victim Garrett had dealt with before. He quickly found himself tangling with a corporate bureaucracy that stretched from South Carolina to Greeley, Colo., the U.S. headquarters for JBS. On Feb. 17, Garrett arranged a meeting with Darren Bolton, who oversees farming operations at the Pilgrim’s Sumter plant. They sat down in a conference room at the sheriff’s office, where Garrett laid out his theory of the case: Pilgrim’s was likely attacked by an angry employee. He asked Bolton if Pilgrim’s had recently fired anyone or performed layoffs. Could he think of anyone who might have a grudge? Garrett says Bolton told him he couldn’t think of anyone.
The chicken industry’s system for compensating farmers, however, is explicitly designed to punish those who under-perform their peers—a recipe for resentment and grievance. Other farmers get paid a certain price per pound or bushel for the commodity they raise; chicken farmers are paid in a system known as a tournament.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to Charge Your Phone or Tablet Faster

Solar Mobile Phone Chargers on grass in nature
Not all charging is equal. If your smartphone (or tablet) is low on battery and you only have a limited amount of time to charge it, here’s how you can get the most juice possible.
These tips should work for practically anything that charges via USB, including cameras, peripherals, and any other device you might have.

Don’t Charge From Your Computer’s USB Ports

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You can connect smartphones and tablets to your computer via a USB cable and they’ll charge. But they won’t charge as fast as they would if you plugged them into a proper, dedicated charger. In the USB 1.0 and 2.0 specifications, a standard USB port is capable of delivering up to 0.5A. USB 3.0 increases this to 0.9A on typical ports, while a dedicated charging port can offer up to 1.5A. USB 3.1, which is intertwined with (but not the same as) the new USB Type-C standard, supports up to 3A.
For example, Apple’s iPhone 6 ships with a charger that offers up to 1A. If you’re charging an iPhone 6 from a typical USB 3.0 port, you’re only getting 0.9A. if you’re charging it from an older USB 2.0 port, you’re only getting 0.5A. Modern Android phones and other devices will likely be capable of taking more power than a typical computer’s USB ports can provide, too — check your phone or tablet’s specifications to see what it’s capable of drawing. Skip your computer’s USB port and plug your phone or tablet into a dedicated charger.
A high-power USB port on a recent computer may be good enough depending on your device, but it’s better to rely on a dedicated charger if you’re in a hurry.
Laptop With Usb Connectors And Usb Cable On A White Background

Use a More Powerful Charger

Rather than simply using the charger that came with your device, you can sometimes charge it faster by upgrading to a more powerful charger. For example, Apple’s iPhone 6 phones ship with a 1A (5W) charger, but they can charge faster when plugged into Apple’s 2.1A (12W) iPad charger. If you want to charge your iPhone 6 faster, plug it into an iPad charger instead of its normal charger.
Not every device will be capable of charging faster when plugged into a USB charger that can output more power. It depends on the device itself. USB charging is fairly standardized you should be able to plug any device into any USB charger and nothing will explode or catch fire. Instead, the device just draws as much power as it can from the charger. Some devices may only be capable of drawing the exact amount their included charger provides, while others can draw more power and charge faster when connected to a charger that can provide more amperage.
Feel free to use a more powerful charger — nothing should go wrong, but the phone or tablet may charge faster.
1A iphone charger

Use a Good USB Cable

Not all USB cables are equal, either. For best results, use the cable that came with the device.Cheap USB cables you buy afterwards can’t necessarily transmit the full amount of power, and may charge your phone or tablet much slower.

Put Down the Phone

This one may seem obvious, but it’s true. Consuming power while the phone is charging will slow down the process. If you’re waiting for your phone to charge and playing a demanding game on it, that game will cause your phone to consume more power and slow down the charging process.
Some people recommend putting your phone into airplane mode or even shutting it down entirely, which could help a little bit in an emergency — but is very inconvenient if you actually want to stay connected.
iphone charging

Use an External Battery Pack (or Car Charger)

No, an external battery pack won’t actually make your phone or tablet charge faster. But, if you need to race out the door with your phone, you can pick up an external battery pack and use it to charge your phone on the go.
Some external battery packs are even designed to function as cases you can fit around your phone to charge it without having an additional device in your pocket. If you frequently find you need to recharge your phone quickly before heading somewhere, just be sure to have an external battery pack around.
Or, if you’ll be driving somewhere in your car, get a universal car charger and charge your phone or tablet while driving.
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Some modern devices support “Quick Charge,” which is actually a Qualcomm feature — but Qualcomm chipsets are part of many modern Android phones and tablets. Quick Charge allows a phone or tablet to charge much more quickly from empty, slowing down when the battery becomes more full. This could allow you to get above 50% battery capacity in half an hour. To use this, you’ll need a device with Quick Charge technology built in and a dedicated Quick Charge charger, which may not actually be included with your phone or tablet, but may be a separate accessory.
In the future, similar features will ideally spread to other manufacturers, chipsets, and devices, becoming more standardized. For now, you’ll find it on many high-end Android phones and tablets.