Daily Digest 1/13 – Don’t abbreviate 2020. It’s for your own good, GM is giving Hummer a second life


Full Disclosure: News Pundits’ Hidden Arms Industry Ties (Sparky1)

A loud chorus of voices appeared in the media to celebrate President Donald Trump’s decision to assassinate Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a move that has sparked renewed tension in the Middle East, a new deployment of U.S. forces, and predictions of increased military spending.

Many of the pundits who appeared on national television or were quoted in major publications to praise the president’s actions have undisclosed ties to the defense industry — the only domestic industry that stands to gain from increased violence.

Hedge Fund CIO: Will The Fed Ever Be Held Accountable For Turbocharging Inequality That Poisons America (nickc)

You see, accountability and consequences are both relative things. The less we hold ourselves accountable, the less accountable we become. And the lower the consequences we face, the more outraged we come to be when faced with the slightest consequence.

Not a single person was held accountable for the 2008 debacle. Nor for Iraq/Afghanistan. Earth’s sixth mass extinction is underway, Australia is burning, no global leader wants to seriously be held accountable, or suffer consequences. America least so.

Consumer electronics and Africa drive the top biometrics and digital ID stories of the week (Thomas R.)

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas drove many of this week’s top biometrics and digital ID news items on Biometric Update, possibly providing indications of the importance of the automotive and smart home markets, chip innovation and liveness detection for the year ahead. News out of Africa and facial recognition for smartphones and casinos was also prominent for the first full week of 2020.

These ‘artificial humans’ could be our distant future (Thomas R.)

The Samsung-backed company STAR Labs just unveiled its much-hyped AI technology called Neon. CNN Business saw a demo of the product, which the company describes as a digital human being.

Fortnite made $1.8 billion in 2019 (Thomas R.)

Last year, “Fortnite” took in $1.8 billion in sales, according to Nielsen’s video game arm SuperData. That was down 25% from the year prior — but still strong enough to remain No. 1 nearly 3 years after its release.

Milk 2.0: How the dairy industry plans to save milk (Thomas R.)

Cow milk sales have been falling steadily for years. And its volatile prices — which are determined by an archaic system — squeeze dairy farmers and processors with each swing. The pressures have made it difficult for milk producers and buyers to compete with vertically integrated retailers, such as Kroger, which process milk themselves.

Meanwhile, the alternative milk sector is growing quickly. Retail sales of oat milk alone have shot up over 600% over a 12-month period ending in November, and major coffee chains, including Starbucks and Dunkin’, are adding oat milk lattes to their menus. Although those sales pale in comparison to sales of traditional milk, they complicate an industry that has already been upended.

Record earnings at big banks could keep the stock rally alive (Thomas R.)

“We’re expecting the fourth quarter [last year] to do better than the fourth [quarter the year before], and that would put them in record earnings territory,” Stephen Biggar, director of financial institutions research at Argus Research, told me.

For banks, the recent challenge has been to fend off the impact of lower interest rates, which eat into their lending profits.

Don’t abbreviate 2020. It’s for your own good (Thomas R.)

When the year 2020 is abbreviated on official forms and documents, those looking to exploit unsuspecting people can easily manipulate those numbers and leave people potentially vulnerable to fraud.

For example, a document dated 1/4/20 can easily be changed to 1/4/2021 by adding two numbers at the end.

Publicly owned utilities ‘not a panacea’ but can produce customer benefits (jasonw)

As California officials consider a public takeover of PG&E, the concept has already shown results in other places.

As wildfires sparked by downed Pacific Gas and Electric wires have burned across California in recent years, so has public outrage with the private utility giant.


GM is giving Hummer a second life as an electric pickup (Thomas R.)

General Motors is bringing back the Hummer, nearly a decade after the brand became defunct. This time, the Hummer will live a new life as an all-electric pickup truck.

It’s a surprisingly green return for the usually gas-guzzling Hummer with a reputation for not being fuel efficient. And it may be targeted at environmentalists, the biggest critics of the old Hummer.


Imperial Oil, Canada’s Exxon Subsidiary, Ignored Its Own Climate Change Research for Decades, Archive Shows (jasonw)

It has come to light in recent years that major fossil fuel companies knew well in advance that their activities were gravely distorting the climate, even as they waged a relentless campaign to confuse public opinion and prevent regulatory action. A flood of cases are now making their way through the courts against Exxon Mobil and other companies accused of concealing the truth of a calamity now slowly enveloping the world.

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