2017/02/09

The skyrocketing oil price

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The law of supply and demand strikes again, driving up the price of oil–olive oil, that is. Britain, with its collapse of the pound, is particularly susceptible to the staple's surge. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver likened olive oil to foie gras and caviar.

Across the pond and the culinary spectrum is Andrew Puzder, President Trump's nominee for secretary of labor. "If Puzder set out to make his career an audition for a role in the Trump administration, he couldn't have done much better," according to Businessweek's cover story.  –Emily Banks

"What's more American"
Andrew Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants, owner of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, is Trump's nominee for secretary of labor. Puzder's appeal to "young, hungry guys" and their version of what makes America great helped two struggling fast-food chains become, if not top contenders, at least contenders. His personality also makes him one of the most Trump-like of all Trump appointments. He has teased competitors, casually denigrated the workforce he relies on, and rallied customers with an anti-PC snubbing of the quinoa-eating elite.
Here are today's top stories...

Olive oil prices are going through the roof. Erratic weather in Spain and Italy, the world's biggest producers, is rippling through global olive oil markets. Prices for extra virgin olive oil in Italy have soared almost one-third since October, while Spanish costs jumped about 10%.

Trump told U.S. airlines he would help them compete with foreign carriers that he said are subsidized by their governments, a crucial signal of White House support for a long-running industry campaign that began in 2015. Active involvement by Trump would answer prodding by Delta, United and American Airlines to act on claims that $50 billion in government support have enabled three Persian Gulf carriers to compete unfairly.

Google just found the one question it can't yet answer. When our robot overlords arrive, will they decide to kill us or work with us? New research from Alphabet's AI unit could shed light on this fundamental question. Researchers have been investigating the conditions in which reward-optimizing beings, whether human or robot, would choose to cooperate, rather than compete.

Trump's tweets force CEOs to choose fight or flight. Not even three weeks into Trump's presidency, a familiar pattern in his dealings with companies has emerged: do what he wants, or face a presidential rebuke. In the span of a few hours Wednesday, Nordstrom and Intel experienced the fallout of Trump's company-by-company intervention. His constant tweeting hasn't been enough to boost Twitter, though.

Paris plans to build a barrier around the Eiffel Tower to limit the risk of terrorism. The idea is to have a "permanent and aesthetic barrier," said Jean-Francois Martins, a city official. The Eiffel Tower receives roughly 7 million visitors a year.

Feng Shui-Approved
Built in 1938 by the prominent area architect G. Lawrence Stimson, the art deco-style house was used by a wealthy Pasadena family as a vacation home for more than 40 years. It was also once owned by the son of Liu Shaoqi, the president of the People's Republic of China from 1959 until 1968. He had flown in multiple feng shui experts to update the house and grounds. They installed water features around the home and shifted the layout, views, and landscaping for maximum balance.

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