business news in context, analysis with attitude

We've been having a small debate here about the coming introduction of a microwaveable grilled cheese sandwich.  I argued that this another sign of the decline of western civilization because people have become so lazy they don't want to make a simple grilled cheese sandwich, while an MNB reader argued that I was ignoring the needs of college students living in dorms and small children not allowed to use grills.

Another MNB reader chimed in:

A little more on the microwave grilled cheese story – the popularity of Smucker’s Uncrustables frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches always amazed me.  There is nothing easier for any healthy individual over the age of 18 months than smearing some peanut butter and some jelly on sliced bread with a dull knife, and it won’t be soggy and requiring an energy-gulping device to accomplish.  The height of laziness has already been reached, and microwaveable grilled cheese is anti-climactic.

I agree.

On the subject of AI advancements, one MNB reader wrote:

Perhaps not in my lifetime, I’m 64, but certainly coming I foresee people having a personal AI almost from birth that you will communicate with throughout your life. More than a personal assistant as it will help you figure stuff out and learn from past mistakes and keep track of everything. “AI where is the receipt for…”  These AIs will be fought over after a person passes and over time and several generations an AI could become a sort of an all knowing fountain of family knowledge and matriarch for the family.

On another subject, from another reader:

It comes as no surprise to me that the more established older generations do not shop online as much as younger generations - not because of technological comfort or anything like that, but because we already have most of what we need or want, so our shopping frequency across all channels is much lower.  As a Gen X member, I shop for discretionary items when I’m in the mood or a new need arises, and shop for necessities in big lumps (the Costco run, the weekly/bi-weekly supermarket trip, etc).  I suspect many of us more established generations also do more stocking up than the generations just starting out, if for no other reason than that many of us have room in our houses for the giant bale of paper towels from the warehouse club or case deals on canned goods, as opposed to young people in small starter apartments.

From yesterday's MNB:

"The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said this week that the window is closing for humanity to effectively address the threat of climate change.

“Humanity is on thin ice — and that ice is melting fast,” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said. “Our world needs climate action on all fronts — everything, everywhere, all at once.”

The Associated Press writes that if humanity has a chance "to prevent the worst of climate change’s future harms," it will require "quickly slashing nearly two-thirds of carbon pollution by 2035."

I commented, in part:

I'm sure that there will be those who will suggest that if every country does not adopt these goals and then work aggressively to meet them, then it does not make sense for any country to do so.  The argument will be that if we do it unilaterally, we handicap ourselves from competing effectively in the global economy.

And there will be those who will question the science behind these warnings.

I cannot help but think, though, that if we do not heed these warnings, there won't be a global economy in which our grandchildren can thrive.  

One MNB reader wrote:

The thought of is fine but the actual implementation of this objective is impossible.  There is no way that our global leaders are in lock step on this and the current infrastructure could never handle the added strain.  Our current technology is inadequate to make this cost effective.  The nuclear “antis” don’t want these around, so that leaves earth scarring solar panels, wind farms that kill birds, and water generation which has its own issues.  This proclamation seems to me to be the tiger with no teeth.

Earth scarring solar panels?  Bird-killing wind farms?  Really?  I love it when I come upon a field of solar panels, or I see windmills on the landscape.  It makes me feel that there are some people in some places who are connected to reality.

From another reader:

Thank you Kevin for what you do. 

I know that the climate is changing and it has always changed.  Glaciers covered most of Canada down to as far south as Missouri at one point.  Yes, we want cleaner energy and we want cleaner water but at what cost?  I think the UN proclamation is another example of “you never let a crisis go to waste” and we have to quickly make changes they want. 

Here in California just after they banned the sales internal combustion vehicles by 2035 the state send out an urgent notice asking that we all turn off some of our electric appliances because we do not have enough electricity.   I’m afraid we are going to hamstrung our economy while countries like India and China give lip service to cutting their carbon output.  China earlier this year approved five more coal fired energy plants after approving on average two new plants per week in 2022. China uses almost 50% of the worlds coal production and they are increasing their use while the US uses 11% and is decreasing our use. 

Wait until everyone finds out how polluting it is to manufacture lithium batteries for vehicles not to mention what do we do with them when the die.       

You're right.  Many will give lip service to these issues and do whatever the hell they want.

But I think "American exceptionalism" means that we have to lead.

And, from yet another reader:

As Al Franken noted on "The Daily Show," we Baby Boomers get the feeling that maybe we caught the last helicopter out of Saigon.

True.  Which makes me want to do the last tango in Paris.  Because there's still so much to be done.