November 25, 2019
2019 Thanksgiving Reading List
By David Widmar
Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re like us, this week is often synonymous with “where has the year gone?!” With the busy week of travel and holiday dinners ahead of you, we depart from our usual post to share a fun reading list.
All I want for Christmas is a Government Spending Bill?
Congress recently passed a resolution to keep the government funded and open until late December. This means lawmakers will have to work to pass a deal before Christmas to keep the government open into 2020. If case this feels like déjà vu, the last government shutdown was about a year ago (Dec 22, 2018 – January 25, 2019).
Later this year, a new apple variety could be at a store near you.
African Swine Fever
The USDA has projected Chinese pork production falling 25% in 2020. That’s on top of the 14% decline from 2018 to 2019. Furthermore, the impacts of ASF are beginning to be felt globally. The disease was recently discovered in wild boars in Poland, 50 miles from the German border. Germany is the largest hog producer in the E.U. In Brazil, beef prices soar as China imports pork alternatives.
Thanksgiving turkeys will cost on average of $1.40 per pound this year. That’s about half of the inflation-adjusted prices consumers paid 50 years ago. Click here for more turkey facts.
Holiday Spending (Again) Higher
2019 is projected to be the first trillion-dollar year for holiday retail sales, up 3.8% from 2018. Another report found fewer people are planning to shop on Black Friday (36% in 2019, compared to 59% in 2015).
As Easy as Riding a Bike?
What happens when you reverse the handlebars on a bicycle? It seems simple, but what started out as a welding shop gimmick/prank turned into a man’s journey into learning about how the brain works. Check out the 8-minute video here. “What you’re not seeing is a group of people looking at the strange American that can’t ride a bike… but I’m actually two levels deep into this because I’ve learned and unlearned.”
Another Year of Robot Progress
Boston Dynamics released two popular robot videos in 2019. The first is Atlas showing off its latest moves; the second shows a herd of Spot robots pulling a box truck. In recent weeks, Spot also captured headlines as a version joined the Massachusetts State Police bomb squad. For a look at how much the technologies have progress, see Atlas just 6 years ago.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving,
Brent and David