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Lumber prices surge 7% as mortgage rates fall for the first time in 4 weeks

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:26pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Lumber prices surged more than 7% on Thursday as mortgage rates fell for the first time in four weeks.
  • The popular 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell 11 basis points to an average of 5.70% over the past week, according to Freddie Mac.
  • A continued decline in mortgage rates could help revitalize the housing market and stimulate demand for lumber.

Lumber prices surged more than 7% on Thursday to $638 per thousand board feet, representing the biggest daily gain for the essential building commodity in months.

The rally in lumber prices came as mortgage rates fell for the first time in four weeks, according to data from Freddie Mac. The average 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell 11 basis points to 5.70% over the past week, while the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate fell 9 basis points to 4.83%.

"The rapid rise in mortgage rates has finally paused, largely due to the countervailing forces of high inflation and the increasing possibility of an economic recession. This pause in rate activity should help the housing market rebalance from the breakneck growth of a seller's market to a more normal pace of home price appreciation," Freddie Mac said.

If the decline in interest rates continues, it could help reverse the recent slowdown in the home builders market and spark more demand for lumber as April and May saw a noticeable decline in building activity due to restrictive mortgage rates.

One home builder in Denver summarized the driving force behind the housing slowdown as "higher rates are definitely bringing a chill to the market," according to a survey from John Burns Real Estate Consulting.

A positive sign on Thursday that suggested mortgage rates could extend their downtrend next week was the decline in the 10-year US treasury yield, which briefly dipped below 3% and fell 9 basis points. That's a big drop from the 10-year's cycle-high yield of 3.50% reached earlier this month.

The flipside to fast-falling interest rates is that it signals an economic recession could be imminent, which is a big enough factor to grind the housing market to a halt and lower demand for new homes. If that's the case, then lumber's recent price rise may be short-lived, and its longer-term downtrend should resume.

Lumber prices are down 63% from their May 2021 high of $1,733 per thousand board feet, and are down 43% year-to-date.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Cities across the US are canceling or postponing July 4th fireworks shows due to supply-chain snags, labor shortages, and the risk of wildfires

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:21pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Cities and towns across the country are postponing or skipping July 4th fireworks this year.
  • Fireworks are in short supply due to supply-chain lags and technicians are hard to find.
  • In the western part of the US, cities are skipping fireworks due to drought and wildfire risks.

The 4th of July will be noticeably quieter in many cities and towns across the country this year. 

That's because fireworks — and the local workers who make fireworks shows happen — are in short supply due to a combination of supply-chain lags and pandemic-related job changes. Those issues, along with environmental risks, have led to many municipalities delaying their pyrotechnic displays by days or even months, or simply canceling them altogether. 

In Phoenix, this year's three major fireworks shows were canceled after the city's contractor was unable to find fireworks for the event due to "ongoing supply chain issues," the city said in a post on its website. The same was true in Ottawa, Kansas, where the fireworks the city ordered are still stuck on a ship coming from China, The Wall Street Journal reports. Ottawa will now host its July 4th fireworks show a bit late — two months late, in fact. 

Earlier this year, the American Pyrotechnics Association, a trade group for the fireworks industry, warned of a challenging fireworks season ahead. Raw-materials costs have jumped 20% and shipping costs have risen "dramatically" since 2019, from $8,000 to $10,000 per shipping container to $45,000 per container, the group said.

But for some metros, the issue isn't a lack of fireworks, but a lack of pyrotechnicians, the people responsible for putting on the displays. Julie Heckman, the APA's executive director, told The Journal that many pyrotechnicians found other jobs during the pandemic after fireworks-worthy events — celebrations, concerts, and the like — were few and far between. Some of those workers never returned to the fireworks industry, she told The Journal.

That shortage is hitting Fairfax, Virginia, where residents will still see a fireworks show this year, but on July 5 instead of July 4.

"The evening show was originally scheduled for July 4, but the city's fireworks vendor canceled more than two dozen contracts due to a shortage of licensed pyrotechnicians," according to the city's website.

The city of Minneapolis will be skipping its annual fireworks display over the Mississippi River due to staffing shortages as well, in addition to construction in the local park, the city announced

But shortages aren't the only reason cities are rethinking fireworks displays. In Flagstaff, Arizona, a laser light show will replace a traditional fireworks display this year after the region experienced wildfires this spring that led to hundreds of households needing to evacuate. 

After fires ravaged Lake Tahoe last August, North Lake Tahoe will skip fireworks as well, opting instead for a drone "SkyShow" that "better aligns with our focus on environmental stewardship for the region," a city official said

In other regions — such as Lake Don Pedro, California, and Claremont, California — drought is putting fireworks shows on hiatus. Roughly 650,000 gallons of water are required to wet the area where fireworks are released, which isn't allowed under local water restrictions, a spokesperson for the city of Claremont told The New York Times.

Local residents can enjoy a free concert in place of fireworks, the city said

Read the original article on Business Insider

Deloitte US's chief marketing officer tells Insider that employees keep companies honest about climate goals

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:18pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Suzanne Kounkel, chief marketing officer of Deloitte US, spoke to Insider last week at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
  • Kounkel said Deloitte's teams zeroed in on sustainability goals three years ago.
  • She said that even though the economic outlook might be cloudy, companies will find a way to continue the sustainability journey.

"Fewer people on fewer planes", was one of Deloitte's early mandates to reflect its commitment to sustainability. 

Suzanne Kounkel, Deloitte US's chief marketing officer told Insider that the consulting firm started on its sustainability journey in earnest three years ago. One way of doing that was cutting back on business travel. "We couldn't be true to our commitment to sustainability if we as many people flying as many miles as it was the case," Kounkel said. "We made some pretty dramatic changes to the way we actually deliver work."

Kounkel spoke to Insider last week at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.  

She said that companies that are truly committed to sustainability will continue on the journey, despite today's more uncertain economic outlook. "I think most organizations are truly committed now, so they'll figure out big and small ways to continue going on the journey," she said. "The truth of the matter is, if you're customers don't keep you honest on it, your employees will." 

Read the original article on Business Insider

US stocks fall on weak consumer spending data as the S&P 500 notches its worst first half since 1970

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:07pm  |  Clusterstock
Traders work the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
  • US stocks fell Thursday as data showed inflation-adjusted personal spending fell for the first time this year.
  • Year to date, the S&P 500 is down roughly 21%, marking its worst first half since 1970. 
  • Meanwhile, analysts said Bed Bath & Beyond stock could fall another 50%. 

US stocks declined on the final trading day of a rough second quarter, as new data showed inflation-adjusted personal spending fell for the first time this year.

US personal consumption expenditures rose 0.6% in May from a month ago, and was up 6.3% from a year ago. But purchases of goods and services adjusted for inflation decreased 0.4%. 

The combination of soaring inflation, geopolitical conflict, Fed rate hikes, and ongoing pandemic snags have made for volatile and uncertain markets. Year to date, the S&P 500 is down roughly 21%, marking its worst first half since 1970. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down more than 16%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down about 25%. 

Here's where US indexes stood as the market closed 4:00 p.m. on Thursday: 

Analysts said Bed Bath & Beyond stock has another 50% to fall, and that its "dumpster fire" first quarter means its days could be numbered. 

"It's not going to take years," Loop Capital analyst Anthony Chukumba said. "We could be talking about months at this point. We are in the end days."

The US dollar has retained its dominance in 2022, but China's yuan has gained among global currency reserves this year. The yuan's share was 2.9% in the first quarter, up from 2.5% a year ago. 

Meanwhile, RBC's commodities chief said oil prices could be set to rise further, as OPEC lacks additional supplies. Additionally, prices could be exacerbated by pressures in China, where demand is rising as COVID lockdowns ease.

But with G7 leaders weighing a Russian oil price cap, a top Moscow official warned that the move would "disbalance" the market and send crude prices soaring

Separately, Russian President Putin said the West is to blame for soaring global food prices. He added that Moscow is not blocking Ukrainian grain exports, but is instead guaranteeing the safety of shipping out of Ukraine ports. 

Oil fell, with West Texas Intermediate down 3.92% to $105.55 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, moved lower 1.19% to $114.68 a barrel. 

Gold edged lower 0.599% to $1,806.60 per ounce. The 10-year yield tumbled 11.5 basis points to 2.978%.

Bitcoin dropped 5.70% to $18,973.35.

Read the original article on Business Insider

GOP Sen. Pat Toomey says Trump's chances of winning the party's 2024 presidential nomination are 'much more tenuous' following the January 6 committee's hearings

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:07pm  |  Clusterstock
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania at the White House with President Donald Trump in February 2018.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey suggested the January 6 committee's hearings had hurt Trump, even among Republicans.
  • The retiring senator said Trump's grip on the 2024 nomination was "much more tenuous" now.
  • "I think we'll have a stronger candidate," Toomey said, suggesting Trump was weak.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania suggested Thursday that public hearings from the House select committee investigating January 6, 2021, had damaged former President Donald Trump politically, even among Republicans.

At the end of a wide-ranging interview with Bloomberg that focused on the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Reserve's approach to tackling inflation, the retiring lawmaker was asked whether he believed the hearings would preclude Trump from seeking a second term as president in 2024.

"I don't know that it means that. I mean he gets to decide whether he's going to run," said Toomey, who was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump on a charge of incitement of an insurrection after the Capitol riot.

"Look, I think he disqualified himself from serving in public office by virtue of his post-election behavior, especially leading right up to January 6," Toomey said. "I think the revelations from this committee make his path to even the Republican nomination much more tenuous."

Most recently, the committee received testimony from Cassidy Hutchinson, a former White House staffer who testified that Trump knew the crowd on the National Mall on January 6 was armed, that he was prone to throwing dishes and flipping tablecloths, that he tried to grab the steering wheel of his presidential limo when informed that he wasn't being taken to the Capitol on the day of the riot, and that both Mark Meadows and Rudy Giuliani sought pardons from Trump in the final days of his administration.

Members of the former president's inner circle told Insider that Hutchinson's testimony was "definitely the most damning day" of the entire session of hearings and that her allegations were "real difficult to dismiss."

Toomey went on to suggest that the former president, still seen by most of the party as its undisputed leader and a shoo-in for the 2024 nomination, was a weak candidate.

"You know, never say never — and he decides whether to throw his hat in the ring — but I think we'll have a stronger candidate," Toomey said.

—Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) June 30, 2022Read the original article on Business Insider

13 hidden WhatsApp features every user should know

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:04pm  |  Clusterstock
FILE PHOTO: Men pose with smartphones in front of displayed Whatsapp logo in this illustration
  • WhatsApp contains numerous features that make the messaging app more useful, convenient, private, or just more fun. 
  • You can customize the appearance of your chats, share your location, or add formatting to your text messages.
  • Here are 13 of the best little-known or unexpected features in WhatsApp.

With about 2 billion active users, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app in the world. An app this popular must be doing something right, and in fact the combination of cross-platform compatibility and end-to-end encryption helps make it so popular. 

But WhatsApp also has a wealth of features — big and small, well-known and relatively "secret" — that help make it the top messaging app on the planet. In fact, unless you're a longtime power user, it's likely that there are WhatsApp features that might surprise you. Here are 13 WhatsApp features everyone should know to get the most out of this app. 

Disable 'last seen'

You probably know that WhatsApp lets you see the last time someone was on WhatsApp — you can see their "last seen" date under their name at the top of a chat. If you don't want to reveal when you're online, you can turn this feature off. Tap Settings, then Account, followed by Privacy, and then tap Last Seen. Change it to the option you prefer. Choose Nobody to hide your last seen status from everyone. 

Set Last Seen to Nobody so no one can tell when you were last on the app.Search everywhere at once

Trying to find a particular message but don't know where to look? You can search every message at once using the search tool on the Chats page. 

If you're using an iPhone, tap Chats and then pull the page down to see the search box. Type a word or phrase to see all the messages it appears in. On Android, tap Chats and then tap the Search icon at the top of the screen to start your search. 

Pull down the Chat page to see the search box (or use the Search icon on Android).Format your text

Did you know there's a "secret" way to format text when typing a message? You can make words bold or italics, or strike through text as well:

  • Bold: Put an asterisk on either side, *like this*. 
  • Italics: Add an underscore to either side of your text, _like this_.
  • Strike-through: Strike through your text by enclosing it with a tilde, ~like this~.  

Don't worry about deleting the symbols from either side of the text. They are removed automatically when you tap Send

Use asterisks to turn text bold.Share your location with someone

If you are coordinating a meet-up, you might want to share your location with someone. In fact, you can share a one-time snapshot of your current location or share your live location for a specified period of time. 

On the iPhone, open the chat you want to share your location in and tap the + sign on the left of the text field. Choose Location and then choose Share Live Location or Send Your Current Location

To share your location, tap the plus sign and then choose Location.

On Android, open the chat you want to share your location in and tap the paperclip on the right of the text field. Tap Location and then choose Share Live Location or Send Your Current Location.

Quick tip: If this is your first time sharing a location, you might need to give WhatsApp permission to access your location.  

See how much data you're using

Want to see how much data WhatsApp is using when you send texts, pictures, videos, and make voice calls? Tap Settings, then choose Storage & Data. Tap Network Usage to get all the stats on your data consumption. 

Send a photo that disappears after a single view

WhatsApp has a lot of privacy features baked in, including the ability to set your messages to disappear after a period of time, and the option to send a photo or video that can only be seen a single time before it disappears forever. 

To do the latter, open the chat you want to send the disappearing media. On an iPhone, tap the + sign, followed by Camera or Photo & Video Library in the pop-up menu. If you're using Android, tap the paperclip and then choose Camera or Gallery. Take or select the media you want to share and then, at the bottom of the screen, tap the 1 in the text field. That indicates it can only be viewed once. Then tap the Send icon. 

Tap the 1 in the text box to turn a photo into a disappearing image.Disable read receipts

WhatsApp delivers read receipts when someone opens your message, which you may consider either a boon or bane depending upon whether you want people to know you've seen their messages. You can disable read receipts so no one can tell if or when you've read their messages. 

To disable read receipts, tap Settings, then Account, and finally choose Privacy. Turn off Read Receipts by swiping the button to the left. 

You can disable read receipts so no one knows if you've seen a message yet.Selectively delete large files from a specific chat

If you need to free up some storage space, it's easy to selectively delete specific photos, videos, and other files from specific chats. Tap Settings, then Storage and Data. Tap Manage Storage and you'll see a list of all your chats. Choose the chat you want to work with and you'll see all the large files onscreen. 

If you have an iPhone, you can tap Select at the top right, tap the files you want to delete and then tap the Delete icon at the bottom right. On Android, to select files for selection, tap and hold each file until you see a checkmark appear, then tap the Delete icon at the top right. 

Quote a message when you reply

Most chats are a linear affair, with each reply following the one that preceded it. That can make things confusing when you're referring to a reply that's earlier in the conversation. WhatsApp makes it easy to quote a previous message in a reply. When you do that, the original text you're replying to appears above your reply in the chat. 

To quote a message, tap and hold the message you want to reply to. On the iPhone, you'll see a pop-up menu — tap Reply. On Android, tap the Reply icon at the top of the page, to the left of the Star icon. 

Tap and hold a message to quote it in your reply. Use the drop-down menu on iPhone or the Reply icon on Android.Conserve your data by switching to WiFi only

WhatsApp lets you customize the way the app uses your data. For example, if you want to make sure it doesn't use cellular data to download large media files, you can tell it to only use WiFi for tasks like that.

Tap Settings, then Storage & Data. In the Media auto-download section, you can configure which kinds of files can be downloaded using a cellular connection and which are reserved exclusively for WiFi. 

Change your chat screen wallpaper

You don't have to be satisfied with the default background in your chats; you can set the chat screen wallpaper from a library of options in WhatsApp or any image stored in the gallery on your phone. 

Tap Settings and then Chats.

If you're using an iPhone, tap Chat Wallpaper and then tap Choose a New Wallpaper. When you've selected the image you want to use, tap Set

You can set a custom wallpaper for chat pages on both iPhone and Android.

On Android, tap Wallpaper and then tap Change. Select the image you want to use, then tap Set Wallpaper

Customize your wallpaper for specific chats

Setting a custom wallpaper for your chats is great, but you can even specify a different wallpaper for specific chats, making each chat page look distinctive. 

If you are using an iPhone, open the chat you want to customize and tap the contact's name at the top of the page. Tap Wallpaper & Sound, then Choose a New Wallpaper. Make your selection and tap Set

On Android, the process is a bit different. Open the chat you want to customize, tap the three-dot menu and choose Wallpaper. Make your selection and choose Set Wallpaper

Email a chat to yourself

If you need a permanent record of a conversation or want to transfer a chat to another device (like a laptop) so you can easily copy and paste important information, you can email an entire chat to yourself. 

Tap Settings, followed by Chats. Tap Export Chat (if you're using Android, you'll need to tap Chat History to get to the Export Chat option) and choose the chat you want to send. In the pop-up, choose whether you want media or only text, and then choose where you want to share the chat log. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The bear market will drag on until inflation subsides and investors should brace for earnings cuts next quarter, according to the investment chief at a $1.2 trillion asset manager

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 4:03pm  |  Clusterstock
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., October 23, 2018.
  • The S&P 500 has yet to bottom, said Nuveen investment chief Saira Malik.
  • The benchmark index is on track to end its worst first half of the year since 1970. 
  • "I think the bear market can't end until inflation shows consistent signs of moderating," Malik said.

The bear market will drag on until inflation begins to recede, said Nuveen's Saira Malik, investment chief of the $1.2 trillion asset management firm.

Although the S&P 500 is about to end its worst first half of the year since 1970, Malik thinks the market has more room to fall, given that consumers are still pulling back on spending. The US Consumer Confidence Index fell 4.5 points during the month of June, and consumer spending data just released for May showed the first drop in expenditures all year. 

"That was most likely a bear market rally that we saw, and we don't think the S&P has bottomed at this point," Malik said in an interview with Yahoo Finance. She warned further that companies with weak pricing power would continue to be slammed by inflationary pressures in the second half of the year.

"I think the bear market can't end until inflation shows consistent signs of moderating."

Luckily, inflation is showing some signs of slowing. Core inflation, which strips out food and gas prices, cooled more than expected in May, and there is some calm being shown from other indicators as well. The five-year, five-forward – a predictor of five-year inflation, five years from now – has held steady at 2% for most of the past year, though Malik thinks the Fed is still a long way away from hitting pause or slowing its rate hikes. 

Companies, at least, are still feeling the heat. Yesterday, the New York Fed's Corporate Bond Market Distress Index measured investment-grade corporate debt as having a distress level of 3.6, more than double from the distress level of 1.6 measured in June of last year, the Wall Street Journal reported. The economic pressures companies are facing, in other words, are spiking. 

"We're worried about companies' forecasts for the second half of this year … I think this is just the beginning of earnings estimate cuts," Malik said, a warning for investors to brace themselves as economic conditions continue to shift.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to turn off or silence notifications on your iPhone in 2 ways

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:56pm  |  Clusterstock
It's easy to adjust or turn off notifications on your iPhone if you're getting too many alerts from certain apps.
  • You can turn off all notifications for an app on your iPhone by toggling off "Allow Notifications" in the settings.
  • You can also limit where and how the app delivers the notifications instead of turning them off.
  • If you just want to pause all notifications for a while, you can enable Do Not Disturb mode.

With every app you have on your iPhone, you can turn notifications off or limit how they will appear, so you can customize your iPhone experience to be helpful and informative – and not annoying and invasive.

In addition, if you ever want a break from all notifications for a certain period of time, you can pause them using the Do Not Disturb feature.

Here's how to turn off notifications for specific apps on your iPhone, as well as pause or clear notifications. 

How to turn off notifications on your iPhone

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Tap Notifications.

Tap “Notifications.”

3. Scroll down to the app with notifications you want to turn off or limit and tap it.

4. To disable all notifications, toggle the button beside Allow Notifications to off.

Toggle off notifications to stop receiving them from that app.

5. To merely limit the app's notifications, set where it can deliver a notification (Lock Screen, Notification Center, and Banners) and toggle Sounds and Badges on or off.

You can also choose where the app delivers the notifications.How to silence notifications on your iPhone

If you want to silence all notifications for a particular time, you can just turn on Do Not Disturb mode.

1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone.

2. Tap Focus.

Tap “Focus.”

3. Tap Do Not Disturb.

Tap “Do Not Disturb.”

4. Tap the toggle next to Do Not Disturb to turn it on.

Toggle “Do Not Disturb” to enable the mode.

Quick tip: You can also enable Do Not Disturb mode from the Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen on iPhone 8 Plus or earlier or from the top right of the screen on iPhone X or later, and then tapping the half-moon icon.

You’ll also find the option to turn on Do Not Disturb mode in the Control Center.How to clear notifications on your iPhone

If you've been ignoring the notifications for a while, they can pile up in the Notification Center. It's quite easy to clean them up.

1. Swipe down from the top left corner of your iPhone's screen to reveal the Notification Center.

2. To clear an individual notification, swipe it to the left and tap Clear.

Swipe left and tap “Clear” to get rid of the notification.

3. To clear all notifications at once, tap the X button next to the Notification Center This will change the button to Clear, and you should tap that to clear the Notification Center.

You can also choose to clear all notifications at once if you don’t want to do it one by one.Read the original article on Business Insider

4 ways to stop the spinning wheel on your Mac computer

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:54pm  |  Clusterstock
The spinning wheel is the last thing you want to see on your Mac.
  • To stop the spinning wheel on Mac, Force Quit the application that's causing it or force restart your computer.
  • You can also stop the spinning wheel by closing background apps you're not using.
  • If all else fails, you might need to contact Apple support for a fix.

It has many names, from the "Spinning Wheel of Death," to the "Spinning Pizza of Death," to the "Spinning Wait Cursor." But no matter what you call it, there's one thing we can all agree on: no one wants to see a spinning wheel while they're working on a Mac.

When the spinning wheel appears, it means there's an issue with your Mac or one of its applications. The spinning wheel will usually only last for a few seconds before your system works out the issue, but if it keeps appearing and won't go away, there's a deeper problem.

Here's how to stop the spinning wheel in its tracks, and help your Mac run smoothly again.

What is the Mac spinning wheel?

This rainbow-colored spinning wheel appears whenever an app on your Mac needs more time to perform a particular task and becomes unresponsive while doing it.

Each app on your Mac has what's known as a window server, a system process that helps an app communicate with your screen. 

When an application enters a non-responsive state, which takes approximately 4 seconds after it comes across a task it can't complete right away, its window server will show you the rainbow spinning wheel.

How to stop the spinning wheel on your Mac

The best way to stop the spinning wheel is to just wait it out, but if it lingers or keeps reappearing, there are a couple of ways you can stop it.

Close all background apps

If the wheel appeared and quickly left, it means your Mac was just briefly overloaded. In these cases, you can usually keep working like normal. But if you're worried, close all the tabs, windows, and apps that you're running but not using.

Force quit the non-responsive application

If the wheel has been spinning for a while and doesn't show any signs of stopping, first determine if the problem is with a specific program, or with your Mac as a whole. Try to use other apps and, if they're working fine, Force Quit out of the app that's freezing.

1. Click the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen.

2. Click Force Quit in the dropdown menu.

Quick tip: You can also press Command + Alt + Escape to open the Force Quit menu.

3. Select the program you want to Force Quit and click Force Quit.

Select the frozen app and click "Force Quit."

Quick tip: You can also Force Quit the non-responsive application by right-clicking it and selecting Force Quit.

Force shutdown your Mac

If your entire Mac is frozen up, you can force it to shut down.

You can force a shut down by holding down the power button for about 10 seconds, or by simultaneously pressing Control + Option + Command + Power, or Control + Option + Command + Eject.

Depending on whether your keyboard has a power key or eject key, this command will change.

Note: If you Force Quit or shut down your Mac, you'll lose any work you haven't saved.

Contact Apple support

If your Mac keeps freezing up and showing you the spinning wheel, even after a restart, there might be something deeper going on that you won't be able to fix yourself. Consider contacting Apple customer support.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Delta is deploying office workers to airports in New York and Atlanta to help with holiday travel chaos

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:53pm  |  Clusterstock
Delta CEO Ed Bastian speaks at LAX.
  • Summer air travel volumes are outpacing carriers' expectations — and preparation.
  • Delta's "Peach Corps" of office workers is being activated to help at hubs in New York and Atlanta.
  • CEO Ed Bastian apologized to SkyMiles members and called the uncertainty "unacceptable."

Delta's CEO is calling for backup heading into a busy Fourth of July travel weekend.

In an email to SkyMiles members on Thursday, Ed Bastian acknowledged that many fliers had faced significant disruptions and delays with his company as it faces record demand.

"If you've encountered delays and cancellations recently, I apologize," he said. This level of disruption and uncertainty is unacceptable."

In anticipation of a busy holiday weekend, Delta previously said customers will be able to reschedule flights that take place July 1-4 with "with no fare difference or change fees."

At the company's major hubs in Atlanta and New York, a team known as the "Peach Corps" has been activated to pitch in, Bastian said. They'll help passengers check in, drop bags, find their gate, and use kiosks. They'll even serve food and drinks to Sky Club guests.

As travel roared back, Delta has hired roughly 15,000 workers since the start of 2021 — and hiring hundreds more each week, Bastian said. The surge is bringing the headcount closer to where it was in the fall of 2020 when it shed about 20% of its staff.

But even with that hiring spree, nearly one in five flight arrivals in June was off by 15 minutes or more, Delta said. 

Atlanta was the scene of major cancellations earlier this month that saw dozens of Delta passengers stranded at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport for more than 24 hours.

The last time the Peach Corps was called in was in March 2020, when members were brought in to help clean and sanitize equipment and surfaces in the early days of the pandemic.

Increased customer support could go a long way in mending a growing rift between air carriers and travelers. In just one holiday weekend beginning June 16, US carriers collectively canceled at least 35,000 flights.

One passenger even drove 45 minutes to rebook his American Airlines flight after being stuck on hold for over four hours, the Wall Street Journal reported. American said the experience was an "anomaly."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Your 4th of July cookout will cost 11% more this year. See how much the price of everything —from beer to burgers — has gone up.

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:52pm  |  Clusterstock
A man holds a burger topped with an American flag decoration.
  • Other than fireworks, nothing says Fourth of July more than a backyard barbecue.
  • But this year, inflation may make some of those gatherings more pricey than usual.
  • Wells Fargo broke down some of the biggest cost increases in a blog post.

In the United States, the Fourth of July is linked with two things: fireworks and food.

Americans traditionally celebrate the holiday with festive cookouts. The summertime feast typically features items like burgers, hot dogs, booze, and frozen treats.

But thanks to inflation, purchasing classic Independence Day staples could leave consumers feeling like a round of firecrackers just went off in their wallet. 

Wells Fargo sector analyst Karol Aure-Flynn recently broke down the latest price increases in a blog post for the bank, finding that a cookout for 10 could spike in price by 11% year over year.

1. Beef: Up 11.8%

Burgers are a classic Fourth of July meal, although this year fresh ground beef has gone up nearly 12 percent.

Source: Wells Fargo

2. Ice cream: Up 6%A scoop of ice cream

According to Wells Fargo, ice cream prices could have consumers feeling the chill, with a 6% spike over the last year. That being said, those looking for a thaw could opt for "nondairy desserts, such as sherbet, gelato, and popsicles," which dropped in cost by 4.5% according to the bank.

Source: Wells Fargo

3. Beer: Up nearly 25%Bottles of beer sit in a cooler.

A pre-cookout trip to the liquor store could leave some shoppers' heads spinning. The cost of beer is up nearly 25% over last year. Cost-conscious consumers may instead opt for wine, which has only seen a 5.8% uptick.

Source: Wells Fargo

4. Pretzels: Up 5%.A pile of pretzels.

Crunch time? Wells Fargo found that the salty treat is just 5% more expensive than it was a year ago. 

5. Fresh tomatoes: Up 1%A cluster of red, ripe tomatoes.

Wells Fargo estimated that the retail produce prices have gone up 7% overall, but fresh tomatoes have seen only a 1% increase, making them the low-cost topping of the summer.

Source: Wells Fargo

6. CondimentsA spoonful of mayonnaise.

 Mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard have all undergone price increases, largely thanks to the rising cost of raw ingredients, an increase in takeout orders, and even climate change.

Source: Wells Fargo, Insider, Insider

7. Buns: Up 10%Texas Wiener hot dogs sit on a tray.

According to Wells Fargo, hamburger and hot dog buns have spiked 10% in price since last year, partly due to the war in Ukraine. The nation is a major grain producer.

Source: Wells Fargo

8. Sodas: Up 13%A close-up shot of soda bubbles.

Wells Fargo found that national-brand sodas increased 13% in price since 2021. As for the competition: Water is up more than 9% and energy drinks about 3%.

Source: Wells Fargo

9. Pork: Up 3.1%A grilled pork chop.

According to Wells Fargo, swapping out burgers for pork chops could be a money-saving move this Independence Day. The bank found that prices for pork are up 3.1%, far less than other proteins.

Source: Wells Fargo

10. Chicken: A double-digit riseChicken on a barbecue grill.

Chicken prices have taken wing over the past year, with wings skyrocketing by 38% and breasts soaring by 24%.

Source: Wells Fargo, Insider

11. Hot dogs: Up more than 12%Hot dogs on a grill.

Last year, hot dog prices went up around the Fourth of July. And this year, it's the same story for frankfurters. Wells Fargo estimated that hot dog costs jumped more than 12% this year.

Source: Wells Fargo, Insider

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How to remove an account from Google Chrome and disable automatic logins

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:49pm  |  Clusterstock

It only takes a few clicks to remove a Google account from Google Chrome.
  • To remove a Google account from Chrome, go to your Profile settings. 
  • You can also disable automatic logins so you don't sign into Chrome when logging into a Google site.
  • Make sure to update your Chrome browser to the latest version before attempting to disable automatic logins.

Google Chrome gives you the option to save multiple Google accounts so you can easily switch back and forth between profiles when browsing.

You can add a Google account to Chrome at any time — and just as easily remove one.

Whether it's an old work account you no longer use, or a friend's account that they used briefly on your computer, you can remove a Google account by opening and using a settings menu in your browser.

While you're at it, you might also want to disable automatic log-in, a feature that signs you into Chrome whenever you sign into a Google site like Gmail.

Here's how to do it on your desktop.

How to remove an account from Google Chrome

1. Open Chrome on your Mac or PC.

2. From any webpage, click on your circular profile picture in the upper-right corner of the Chrome window. 

Quick tip: If you don't have a profile picture associated with your account, the circle will include your initials instead. If there is no picture or initials, you aren't logged into any Google accounts on this computer.

3. Once you click your picture, a menu will open. Click the gear icon next to Other Profiles near the bottom of this menu.

Click the three dots in your accounts menu.

4. Click the three dots in the top right corner of the account you want to remove and click Delete in the small drop-down menu that appears.

Click the three dots in your accounts menu.

5. You'll see a pop-up asking you to confirm you want to delete that profile, so click Delete in the bottom right corner. Your browser will take a moment to process the request, and then will remove the Google account.

How to disable automatic logins on Google Chrome 

To prevent Chrome from force-signing you into your local Chrome account after signing into a Google site, you should disable automatic logins.

Quick tip: Make sure you've updated Google Chrome to the latest version before proceeding. The ability to remove automatic logins is only available in Chrome 69 and later.

1. Click the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the Chrome window and select Settings.

Click the three vertical dots in the top-right corner.

2. Under the You and Google heading in the right pane, click on Sync and Google services

Click on “Sync and Google services.”

3. In the Other Google services section, click on the toggle next to Allow Chrome sign-in to turn off automatic log-ins.

Toggle “Allow Chrome sign-in.”

4. You may get a prompt asking if you want to turn off sync and personalization. Click Turn off.

Note: This will log you out of your Google account on that browser.

5. Relaunch Chrome for the changes to take effect.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to delete a Discord server or transfer ownership to another server member

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:49pm  |  Clusterstock

It should only take a minute to delete your Discord server.
  • You can delete a Discord server by accessing the "Server Settings" page.
  • You can also transfer ownership to another server member if you don't want the server anymore – you don't need to delete it.
  • Once you delete a server on Discord, it's gone for good and cannot be recovered.

If you want to delete a Discord server that you own or created, you're in luck: The process is extremely simple, and can often be completed in less than a minute. 

If you've enabled two-factor authentication, you'll need to know your six-digit discord delete server auth code in order to get it done. You can find this by opening the Authy or Google Authenticator app on your mobile device.

However,  once you delete a server, it's permanently gone, and you won't be able to recover it — so it might be worth trying to transfer ownership to another server member instead. 

With that in mind, here's how to delete a Discord server or transfer ownership. 

How to delete a Discord server through the desktop app

1. Open Discord on your Mac or PC and go on the server you want to delete.

2. Click the down-arrow icon, located in the top-left corner of the screen.

Start by expanding the down-arrow in the top-left corner.

3. Select Server Settings from the dropdown menu.

Open your server's settings page.

4. Once the Server Overview opens, click Delete Server located in the bottom left corner of the side menu.

Select the "Delete Server" option.

Quick tip: You can also get to the Server Overview page on Discord by right-clicking the server name on the left side menu and selecting Server Settings > Overview.

5. A pop-up will appear. Enter the server name's name exactly (it'll be written at the top of the pop-up) or your six-digit authentication code, if you have two-factor authentication enabled.

6. Click Delete Server.

How to transfer ownership of a Discord server 

If you don't want the server anymore, but don't want to delete it, you can also transfer ownership of it to another member on that server.

To do this:

1. Open your server settings again, but select Members in the left sidebar instead of Delete Server.

Choose "Members" on the left side menu of the "Server Settings."

Quick tip: You can also get to the server members area on Discord by right-clicking the server name on the left side menu and selecting Server Settings > Members.

2. This will give you a list of every server member. Hover over the name of the person that you want to give ownership to and click the three vertical dots that appear on the right.

3. Select Transfer Ownership.

Transfer ownership to another member on the server.How to delete a Discord server through the mobile app

1. Open Discord on your iPhone or Android device and navigate to the server you want to delete.

2. Swipe right to open the side menu, and tap the server's name at the top of the screen.

3. In the pop-up that appears, tap Settings (gear icon) on the right.

Go to the server's settings on the Discord mobile app.

4. Tap Overview.

Tap "Overview."

5. At the bottom of the Overview page, select Delete Server.

Tap "Delete Server."

6. You'll be asked if you really want to delete the server. Tap Yes to confirm that you want to delete it. If you have two-factor authentication enabled, you'll need to enter the auth code found in your Authy or Google Authenticator app.

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How to block websites and set content restrictions on an iPhone or iPad

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:47pm  |  Clusterstock

You can block websites on an iPhone in a few different ways.
  • To block websites on an iPhone or iPad, go to the "Content Restriction" section of Screen Time.
  • You can block all adult sites or limit access to a list of pre-approved websites.
  • You can also block websites with explicit language and protect the settings with a passcode.

With the full swing of the digital age, it's not uncommon to have children under the age of 12 with an iPhone or iPad. 

If you want to set up an iPhone and iPad for your child, you may consider restricting access to any websites that you'd rather not end up in front of young eyes.

Here's what you need to know to block websites on an iPhone or iPad. 

How to block websites on an iPhone and iPad

There are various ways you can block websites on an iPhone so your child doesn't visit them.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and tap Screen Time.

Tap "Screen Time."

3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

Tap "Content & Privacy Restrictions."

4. Tap the toggle for Content & Privacy Restrictions to switch it to the right (a green background will appear around the switch).

Turn on the toggle for "Content & Privacy Restrictions."

Quick tip: You can also block some apps by tapping Allowed Apps and turning off the toggles for the apps you don't want your child to access.

5. Tap Content Restrictions.

Tap "Content Restrictions."

6. Tap Web Content.

Tap "Web Content."

7. Choose how you want to limit web access. 

After you select "Limit Adult Websites," you can add websites you'd like to always or never allow.
  • Limit Adult Websites: This option blocks sites known to be adult in nature (like nudity and pornography). You can also add more sites that will always be blocked or allowed. 
  • Allowed Websites Only: This option allows you to create a customized list of the only sites that will be allowed.
How to block searches and explicit language on an iPhone and iPad

You should also consider blocking websites that contain explicit language.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and tap Screen Time.

Go to the "Screen Time" settings.

3. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions.

Choose "Content & Privacy Restrictions" from the list of options.

4. Tap Content Restrictions.

Choose "Content Restrictions" from the list of options.

5. Tap Explicit Language.

Tap "Explicit Language."

6. Tap Don't Allow.

Tap "Don't Allow."How to set up a passcode to protect your content restrictions 

While you're at it, you should also set up a screen time passcode. This will prevent any semi-savvy child from undoing any of the settings he or she doesn't like. 

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and tap Screen Time.

In the Settings App, tap "Screen Time."

3. Tap Use Screen Time Passcode.

Tap "Use Screen Time Passcode."

4. Enter and re-enter the passcode.

5. Enter your Apple ID username and password so you can recover the passcode if you forget it and tap OK in the bottom right corner of the pop-up.

Quick tip: If you have forgotten your Apple ID password, you can reset the Apple ID password on the iForgot website.

Now whenever anyone tries to change the Screen Time settings they'll have to enter the passcode to get through.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Watch Ketanji Brown Jackson become first Black woman on the Supreme Court

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:39pm  |  Clusterstock
  • Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court justice on Thursday.
  • Jackson is the first black woman appointed to the Supreme Court.
  • Her nomination was confirmed in April.

Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn in as the 116th Supreme Court justice on June 30, 2022, making history as the first Black woman Supreme Court justice.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tish James' Summer of Trump: Depositions loom, fresh appraisal docs pile up in NY probe's 11th hour

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:37pm  |  Clusterstock
New York Attorney General Letitia James, left. Former president Donald Trump, right.
  • NY Attorney General Letitia James has signaled that her probe of Donald Trump's business is in its 11th hour.
  • Still, documents are pouring in by the hundreds of thousands of pages as Trump appraiser Cushman & Wakefield scrambles to comply with subpoenas.
  • To make the summer still busier, Donald, Ivanka and Donald Jr. are scheduled for depositions in 2 weeks.

It's the Summer of Trump for Letitia James and her band of Trump Organization investigators.

With statute of limitations deadlines looming, New York's attorney general has signaled that her office is wrapping up its massive, three-year inquiry into an alleged pattern of financial fraud at Donald Trump's multi-billion-dollar hotel and golf resort empire.

There will be no summer slowdown as James races to file the result of that probe, an expected encyclopedic lawsuit quite possibly seeking to put the company out of business entirely.

Depositions from Donald Trump and his two eldest children, plus an ongoing, giant evidence dump from longtime Trump appraisers Cushman & Wakefield — to include Cushman's entire archive of communications with Trump and Trump Org — will make for a very busy July as the finish line nears.

The hottest depos yet

James' investigators have by now recorded subpoena-mandated depositions from some 40 witnesses. Those include less-than-enlightening sessions with the Trump Organization's two top executives, former CFO Allen Weisselberg and Eric Trump, who has helmed the business as executive vice president since his father became president in 2017.

James has left the hottest depositions for smack in the middle of summer.

Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Trump, Jr. have all been court-ordered to sit for questioning some time between Friday, July 15, and Friday, July 22. Reps for Trump and the AG's office declined to say whether or when those have been scheduled.

The three Trumps could follow in Weisselberg's and Eric Trump's footsteps, and plead the fifth hundreds of times, but there would be a legal cost.

The depositions will be taped, and those tapes will become evidence for a jury should James' eventual lawsuit — and any possible demand for fines, restitution or a dissolution of the business — go to trial. 

A jury would be told that they are allowed to draw a negative inference from the sight of any witness invoking the right to remain silent rather than risk self-incrimination.

What's up? Docs.

Meanwhile, evidence is pouring in by the hundreds of thousands of pages from Cushman & Wakefield, in response to their loss two weeks ago of a last-ditch appeal at New York's highest court.

James's probers appear to care a lot about the Chicago-based Cushman, Trump's go-to appraisers for well over a decade.

They've alleged that Trump used "fraudulent or misleading" Cushman appraisals to win $165 million in tax breaks and bank loans. At least some of those questionable appraisals were made in what the AG has called "an atmosphere of pressure applied to them by the Trump Organization."

The real estate services giant is now scrambling to comply with the third of four subpoenas James has issued since June of 2019, according to a new court filing that gives a sense of how much new paperwork the AG's office is in the midst of processing.

Cushman has turned over 800,000 pages of documents to the AG's probe. Some 500,000 of those pages were turned over in the past week, lawyers for the appraisal firm say in the filing.

But two sets of documents, demanded in that third subpoena, issued in September, remain to be turned over.

And here is where lawyers for Cushman say they are struggling and need more time, ideally until July 15, after having blown past this week's deadline.

What are they still laboring to turn over? The third subpoena's first and second document requests:

"All documents and communications concerning any work performed for Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization." 

And: 

"All documents and communications concerning any work performed concerning property or assets owned by Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization." 

Terabytes of emails

Some of this material, including "emails, substantial hard copy documents, and other e-discovery materials," has already been turned over, the new Cushman filing says.

But the e-discovery firm that's helping collect and process Cushman's documents, Platinum Intelligent Data Solutions, is still scouring through 1.78 terabytes of emails "involving current and former employees," in an effort to parse out what else must be turned over, the filing says.

"This is estimated to include approximately 9 million e-mails with attachments consisting of approximately 72 million pages," the filing says, describing the huge database now being sifted for Trump-related communications.

The AG's office has yet to respond to Cushman's request for a two-week delay, which would also have to be approved by the Manhattan judge who is presiding over the AG's probe, NY Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.

That's the judge who on Wednesday ruled that Donald Trump is no longer in contempt of court over an earlier failure to fully comply with James' subpoena for his business documents.

As for the 500,000 pages turned over by Cushman in the past week, those include  some 1,000 valuations, stretching back to 2012, that were conducted by 5 Cushman-employee appraisers of Trump properties, the latest filing also says.

James has said she wants to compare how the 5 appraisers set values for Trump properties with how they set values for similar non-Trump properties.

The 5 appraisers worked on three properties James is looking closely at — 40 Wall Street, the Seven Springs estate in Upstate New York, and the Trump National Golf Club near Los Angeles.

Any measurable favoritism toward Trump, which Cushman has steadfastly denied, could result in the AG naming the appraisal firm as a defendant in her lawsuit.

A Cushman spokesman did not immediately reply to a request for comment. 

 

 

 

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says 'we are witnessing a judicial coup' with the Supreme Court taking up a case that could reshape US election law

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:29pm  |  Clusterstock
U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks to abortion-rights supporters in Union Square in response to the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade Friday, June 24, 2022 in Manhattan, New York.
  • AOC says the US is "witnessing a judicial coup in process" and is in a "constitutional crisis."
  • The Supreme Court is taking up a case that could radically reshape election law. 
  • "The Court is signaling they will come for the Presidential election next," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez warned that the country is "witnessing a judicial coup in process" and is in the midst of a "Constitutional crisis" after the Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it will take up a case that could upend current US election law. 

"If the President and Congress do not restrain the Court now, the Court is signaling they will come for the Presidential election next," the New York Democrat tweeted. "All our leaders - regardless of party - must recognize this Constitutional crisis for what it is."

—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 30, 2022

"At this point we should be well beyond partisanship," Ocasio-Cortez added. "Members of Congress have sworn an oath to the Constitution. It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the President."

The Supreme Court announced at the end of its term on Friday that it will hear Moore v. Harper, a case out of North Carolina challenging the state supreme court's ability to strike down the new congressional and legislative maps passed by the state legislature for being unfairly gerrymandered in favor of Republicans.

The petitioner, North Carolina Speaker Tim Moore, is asking the court to weigh in on not just the maps, but to adopt a once-fringe legal theory known as the independent state legislature doctrine which would monumentally reshape election law and make it much harder for courts to strike down voting maps or provide judicial review on election laws.

The theory, which didn't enter the mainstream until 2020, claims that the Elections Clause of the US Constitution only gives state legislatures and no other authorities, like courts or executive officers, jurisdiction over redistricting and election laws. 

If the Supreme Court adopts the independent state legislature theory, it has far-reaching implications beyond redistricting, including for the 2024 election.

Former president Donald Trump and his allies who sought to overturn the 2020 election in the courts and in Congress cited the theory in their efforts to reverse state election results, unsuccessfully claiming that state election laws shaped by courts or executive orders were invalid. 

In cases over the 2020 election and in considering the North Carolina case earlier this year, three members of the high court's conservative wing indicated they were open to accepting the doctrine to varying degrees. 

The Supreme Court is also set to hear Merrill vs. Milligan, a case over whether Alabama is required to draw a second majority-Black district under the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that advocates worry could further erode the landmark civil rights law. 

The high court taking up the North Carolina case comes as the House Select Committee investigating January 6 is holding hearings shedding more light on how Trump and his allies pushed radical legal theories with the aim of overturning the election and keeping Trump in office. 

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a member of the January 6 Committee, also expressed his concern over the high court taking the case, tweeting: "After the attempted coup, this cannot happen." 

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How a soil additive called biochar can help fight the climate crisis by locking away carbon for centuries

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:18pm  |  Clusterstock
Biochar is similar to the burnt remains of a campfire and is an emerging climate solution because it can help soil store more carbon and retain water.
  • Biochar is a soil additive that can help store carbon dioxide for centuries. 
  • Cities in Minnesota and Nebraska plan to build biochar plants similar to those in Nordic countries.
  • Climate scientists estimate 10 million metric tons of carbon removal is needed annually by 2050.

A decade ago, Jim Doten was on a tour in Afghanistan with the Army National Guard searching for ways to help farmers improve soils depleted of nutrients and carbon.

The geohydrologist came across some studies on biochar, a material not unlike the burnt remains of a campfire.

Doten's biochar program in Afghanistan was short-lived, but the idea stuck. He's since convinced Minneapolis, Minnesota officials of biochar's value as governments search for ways to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also remove them from the atmosphere. 

"It took a few years to build credibility because people didn't understand why this was a carbon-negative technology," said Doten, the carbon-sequestration program manager for Minneapolis. 

Jim Doten is the carbon-sequestration program manager for Minneapolis.

The rationale for biochar being carbon-negative goes like this: Through photosynthesis, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and it's released when they decay or are burned. Gathering forest or yard waste, converting it into biochar using a process known as pyrolysis, and returning it to the soil can trap carbon for centuries and retain water while helping plants absorb nutrients.

Doten first worked with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a tribe in Minneapolis that owns a compost facility and develops urban gardens to promote food security. The city paid for biochar trucked in from Missouri to be mixed with compost.

"That's a great way to demonstrate the work, but from a climate aspect, trucking biochar across the country negates its climate benefits," Doten said. "So we need local supply."

Minneapolis is among seven cities that received a $400,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies this week to invest in biochar. The city is matching the grant to fund the construction of a production plant that will convert wood from nearby ash trees — which are getting decimated by an invasive pest — into biochar, Doten said. The plant will be powered by a low-carbon electric grid.

"Instead of burning the wood for energy, which is also bad for the climate, we're turning it into a soil amendment," Doten said.

The $50 billion global industry that combusts wood for power has been panned by scientists and environmentalists, even as governments in the US, the European Union, and elsewhere categorize it as renewable. While some biochar on the market is a byproduct of that industry, Doten said most production was from plants like the one coming to Minneapolis, which will use the nearly zero-emissions pyrolysis process. That's the case in Stockholm, the original recipient of a Bloomberg Philanthropies grant, where yard waste is being converted into biochar and enough energy to heat 80 apartments.

Bloomberg Philanthropies said all the projects combined would yield enough biochar suppliers to sequester nearly 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year. It's a help though it's only a tiny amount relative to the scale of what's needed to keep global warming below catastrophic levels. Scientists predict that 10 billion metric tons of carbon will need to be removed from the atmosphere annually by 2050. 

"Work like this, no matter the size, is important because it engages everyday people in finding solutions," Jim Anderson, the government-innovation lead at Bloomberg Philanthropies, said.

For now, Doten said government agencies with big public-works projects would be the main customers for biochar. A pilot project in Minneapolis demonstrated that biochar along highways helped sponge up stormwater, a climate-resiliency strategy as the risk of flooding increases. 

Eventually, Minneapolis' plant could sell carbon-offset credits to companies that want to meet net-zero targets, Doten added. In 2019, biochar was listed for the first time on a voluntary carbon marketplace in Finland, followed by another listing in 2020, according to the International Biochar Initiative.

Insider is seeking nominations for its first Climate Action 30 list, which identifies the top 30 global leaders working toward climate solutions.

Tell us about someone who you believe is doing some of the most impactful or promising work to tackle the global climate crisis:

 

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Biden to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to be a lifetime federal judge 5 days after he vowed to protect abortion rights

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 3:13pm  |  Clusterstock
President Joe Biden.
  • Biden plans to nominate an anti-abortion lawyer to a Kentucky federal judgeship, Gov. Andy Beshear confirmed.
  • Last week Biden said he would fight for abortion rights in light of the Roe v. Wade decision.
  • A Kentucky Democrat said the move appears to be part of a deal with Mitch McConnell.

President Joe Biden has agreed to nominate an anti-abortion lawyer to a lifetime federal judiciary appointment in Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear confirmed at a Thursday press conference.

The news of the plan to nominate the attorney Chad Meredith comes less than a week after Biden said he would use all of his "appropriate lawful powers" to reverse the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Rep. John Yarmuth, a Democrat, and other unnamed officials told the Louisville Courier-Journal that Meredith's nomination was pending. Yarmuth's office told Insider that the White House had informed him of the nomination. 

Meredith, who is currently the solicitor general to Kentucky's attorney general, Daniel Cameron, has a record of defending Republican cases that opponents say are designed to obstruct access to abortion, the Courier-Journal reported. 

Beshear, Kentucky's Democratic governor, said Thursday that the White House told informed his office of the move "late last week."

"My understanding right now is that [the nomination] has not been submitted, which I hope means in the very least it's on pause," he said at a press conference.

"If the president makes that nomination, it is indefensible," Beshear added.

Rep. John Yarmuth.

Yarmuth told the paper that he strongly opposes Meredith's nomination and said that he believed it's part of a deal with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

"Given that a judicial position isn't currently open on the Eastern District Court, it's clear that this is part of some larger deal on judicial nominations between the president and Mitch McConnell," Yarmuth told the paper. 

McConnell has already had an outsize influence on judicial appointments, saying on Wednesday that his moves that led to a conservative-majority Supreme Court were his most "consequential" decisions ever, Bloomberg reported

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The White House and McConnell's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. The White House told the Courier-Journal that it does not comment on judicial appointments. 

Appointing Meredith would likely spark intense condemnation from progressive Democrats.

On the day the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe was handed down, Biden said: "I will do all in my power to protect a woman's right in states where they will face the consequences of today's decision." 

But the White House has stayed firmly within an established political playbook out of fear of legal risk and further national polarization ahead of November's midterms, Reuters reported, citing unnamed sources.

More than 30 Senate Democrats called on Biden to take "bold action" in response, Reuters reported, while progressive Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged him to take more radical moves such as expanding the Supreme Court

Meredith is a contributor to the conservative Federalist Society, to which recent anti-abortion Supreme Court appointees Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh have strong ties. 

Meredith defended a 2017 Kentucky abortion law that requires abortion-providing doctors to conduct an ultrasound on patients and describe the image, as well as playing the sounds made by the fetus' developing heart, the Courier-Journal reported

He also defended an attempt by then-Gov. Matt Bevin to enact a safety law that opponents said was designed to shut down the state's only full-time abortion clinic in 2017, the paper reported.

Meredith did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

California’s $350 stimulus checks are a make-or-break bet for fighting inflation

Thu, 06/30/2022 - 2:32pm  |  Clusterstock
Alex Reyes, 28, began filling his work truck and stopped when he noticed the prices on the large marquee as drivers select from various fuels priced near of above over $6 dollars at a Shell gas station located at South Fairfax, West Olympic and San Vicente Blvd in Los Angeles
  • California Democrats approved an aid package that includes $350 stimulus checks for residents.
  • The payments aim to offset the burden of soaring costs, yet they could boost inflation higher.
  • Stimulus tends to fuel increased spending, and high demand has played a big role in the current inflation.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom touted his state's new round of stimulus checks as a "middle class tax rebate" meant to "help you fill your gas tank and put food on the table."

The payments could end up worsening the inflation that lifted prices in the first place.

Newsom and Democratic state legislators approved a $17 billion economic aid package on Sunday including a new round of stimulus payments for roughly 23 million Californians. Individual California residents earning $75,000 and below or couples earning $150,000 and under will receive payments of $350 per filer, as well as $350 if the filer has any dependents. That pushes the total possible sum a family can receive to $1,050.

Higher-earning Californians stand to get smaller checks as well. Individuals earning between $75,000 and $125,000 are eligible for a $250 direct payment. The same applies to couples earning between $150,000 and $250,000.

The payments are meant to ease some of the strains brought about by historically strong inflation. Prices for common goods and services surged 8.6% in the year through May, marking the fastest inflation since 1981. Where the stimulus checks doled out by the federal government in 2020 were meant to aid households thrown into lockdown, California's latest round aims to counter the loss in residents' buying power.

Yet the aid could contribute to even higher inflation. At the center of the price-growth problem is an imbalance between supply and demand. Americans are spending at near-record levels but there's just not enough goods to go around. That's led businesses to raise prices at an unusually fast pace.

Extra cash in Californians' pockets can replace some of the funds lost to higher prices, but it doesn't solve the disparity fueling such high inflation. The payments could even widen the gap by keeping consumer demand elevated. 

The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates at the fastest pace in decades in hopes of bringing demand more in line with strained supply. Giving California residents extra cash could extend their spending spree and keep inflation elevated.

Republicans in Congress have blamed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package for accelerating rising prices by overheating consumer demand with measures like the $1,400 direct payments that went out to most American taxpayers. A similar situation could play out in California, depending on how residents spend their government cash.

Read the original article on Business Insider


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