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Cronkite on war, Hamas and Gaza, pufferfish, daylight saving time, CEOs turn bearish, EV batteries, life is a simulation
November 6, 2023 - The Nett Report
Every other week, the award-winning Nett Report provides readers with thoughtful perspectives helpful to navigating life in a changing world. Past issues can be found here (recent) and here (past three years).
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Cause and effect – are we doomed?
A Facebook friend found this letter to the editor about windmills published in an Idaho newspaper. He hopes it is a joke, or says else we are doomed.
“Ever since they installed all those big fans up on the hill, it’s become even windier. Whose bright idea was that? I’ve noticed when they’re off, we get a nice calm spell. Please turn them off, at least on weekends.”
EV battery price drop could bring parity with ICE vehicles
A projected 40% drop in the cost of electric vehicle (EV) batteries by 2025 could mean that EVs will achieve price parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles by the middle of this decade, even without subsidies. According to a November 1, 2023, Goldman Sachs report, “almost half of the decline will come from declining prices of EV raw materials such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt.”
The world’s greenest countries; Iceland tops the list
The MIT Technology Review’s Green Future Index 2023 compares the ranking of 76 nations and territories “on their ability to develop a sustainable low-carbon future.” Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden are the top five in that order. The U.S. is #19. Iran is last, closely followed by Algeria, Zambia, Qatar, and Bangladesh. The World Economic Forum has produced a short video on the report.
Walter Cronkite on war
“War itself is, of course, a form of madness. It’s hardly a civilized pursuit. It’s amazing how we spend so much time inventing devices to kill each other and so little time working on how to achieve peace.” - Walter Cronkite
An alternative to addressing Hamas
An opinion on CNN on November 1, 2023, by Robert A. Pape, a professor of political science and director of the University of Chicago Project on Security and Threats, suggests that without politically separating the Palestinian population in general from Hamas, the killing of Hamas and civilians will likely encourage more Hamas sympathizers as it has in other conflicts in the past.
Gaza war causing students to fear each other
Former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich reports the Gaza war is "causing his students to fear each other. They are at a time of their lives when they’re trying to figure out the meaning of social justice and their roles in seeking to advance it.” Yet he says the Jewish students are afraid of the, Arab, Palestinian and Muslim students and vice versa. He tells them, “First, if Jews and Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims on an American college campus cannot feel safe around each other, they will never feel safe around each other, anywhere. Second, the only way forward is to reject stereotypes and begin to talk to one another.”
Is daylight saving time decision a political divide?
Two states use standard time year-round. Nineteen states have passed laws for year-round daylight saving time if federal law would allow it. Almost all others are considering similar legislation. A November 4, 2023, story by NBC News says, “the Uniform Time Act of 1966 mandated states following daylight saving use the same start and end date. The law means that states cannot use daylight saving time year-round unless Congress first votes to change the federal law.” The Senate has passed a bill allowing the states to change, but the House has been unable to reach a consensus. The divide is regional, not partisan.
Future of Work / The Economy
“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together.” - Vincent Van Gogh
CEOs turn bearish in the third quarter
Fortune Analytics’ third quarter survey of CEOs reported on November 2, 2023, found them more pessimistic than in the last two quarters. Here are the numbers:
48% - are pessimistic or very pessimistic about the global economy in the next 12 months, up from 38% in June.
33% - expected strong growth or very strong (3%), and 50% expected modest growth.
51% - said increased interest rates have had a modest impact on their business, 22% a significant impact, and 23% no impact.
30% - have reduced investment in China, and 1% increased investment.
51% - expect “geopolitical instability” will likely disrupt or influence their business strategy over the next 12 months because of wars in Europe and the Middle East and continued tension between the U.S. and China. The same percentage said inflation was a top challenge.
How to lead a business in today’s uncertain environment
CEO Daily Editor Alan Murray asked former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi her thoughts on how to lead a business in today’s uncertain environment with “war raging in Europe and the Middle East and foreboding in Asia; an economy perched on the pivot from unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus to a return to an unfamiliar normality; a pandemic that provoked massive changes in work and life; and new technologies moving at warp speed with premonitions of both utopian and dystopian consequences.” She boiled it down to five rules as reported in the October 24, 2023, edition of CEO Daily (edited for brevity):
Rather than articulate a vision for the company, CEOs have to learn to talk about alternatives and scenarios.
You have to build resilience, agility, and adaptability into the company.
Lifelong learning is the survival mantra of the future. Leaders must understand coming trends and technologies.
Rethink how you do talent succession. Make succession an ongoing science.
The only way to find and bind outstanding talent to the company is to engage their hearts as well as their head and hands in the business of the company. To do so, companies have to articulate a purpose … that touches people emotionally and encourages them to give the company their all.”
Clean energy report assesses jobs and economic impact of Inflation Reduction Act
On November 1, 2023, Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) released the results of a report that analyzed the direct, indirect, and induced economic benefits of 210 clean energy and electric vehicle factories and other projects announced across 38 states that the organization tracked from August 2022 to August 2023. According to the organization's findings, if all the projects are completed, they would:
Create or support 303,500 jobs during the construction phase and 99,600 jobs after the projects are up and running;
Add $156 billion to the US GDP during construction and $13 billion annually to the GDP over their operational lifetime;
Generate $32.5 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues during the construction phase and another $2.9 billion annually after they’re up and running;
Add $111 billion in wages during construction and another $8.4 billion annually during operation.
Disclaimer: I am on E2’s state and national advisory committees.
What will happen to the U.S. economy in the next 50 years?
San Diego demographer and economist Alan Nevin's new book, The Next Half Century, tells which cities and countries will fare best in the next 50 years. Among the highlights:
What to expect in the economies of California, Texas, Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas.
Why the single-family detached home will become a rarity — as will going to a hospital for health care.
How climate change is going to affect the construction, infrastructure, and insurance industries.
Whether Deng Xiaoping's famous one-child policy is causing a long-term irreversible slowdown in the Chinese economy.
Why India will threaten China's status as the largest country.
What the Russian population's health woes will mean for that country.
“Health is more than what happens in hospitals and clinics…Health is how we work together. Health is building a sense of community. Health is bringing back a sense of respectability in our public discourse. It’s about promoting the values of honesty, decency, truth, integrity…It is our responsibility to change it.” - Michael Dowling, CEO, Northwell Health
Safest cities in America; time to move to Nashua?
Where you live is important to your health. An October 9, 2023, article in WalletHub reported on the safest cities in America ranked by Home and Community Safety, Natural Disaster Risk, Financial Safety, and Overall. The table in the article can be sorted by each of those categories. The top city – Nashua, New Hampshire. The worst – St. Louis, Missouri.
Fitness is the key to avoiding injury on the slopes
As winter approaches, many of us turn our daydreaming to long runs down powdery slopes, ignoring the fact that our fitness might not be what it should be to avoid injuries. An October 26, 2023, article in The New York Times provides a primer on common injuries and exercise routines to avoid them.
The Nett Light-Side
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” - Wayne Dyer, an American self-help author and motivational speaker
Michael Caine on what to do if you are in a difficult situation
“You have to use the difficulty. What can I get out of this? There never is anything so bad that you cannot use that difficulty. If you can use it a quarter of one percent to your advantage, you are ahead. You didn’t let it get you down. That’s my philosophy. Use the difficulties. Also, avoid them if you can.” - Michael Caine, actor, in a 2002 interview
Pufferfish build elaborate seafloor art pieces to attract females
Pufferfish are well-known for their ability to expand their body size, but who knew the males off the shores of Japan “showcase unparalleled artistry, crafting intricate geometric designs in the sand (see above) with nothing but fins and determination.” The patterns exceed six feet in width and are part of “a labor-intensive courtship process that takes seven to nine days,” according to an October 26, 2023, Instagram video from the "Courtship" episode of BBC’s Earth’s Life Story.
Surfing dolphins having fun
Who can resist videos of dolphins surfing a glassy wave. Not me. Here’s another Instagram post with three videos of these marine mammals having fun.
If you loved The Matrix, then reality as an illusion is for you
Wondering about the nature of our reality goes at least back to Plato in 427 BC. It was perhaps best imagined by the 1999 movie The Matrix. An October 21, 2023, article in PHYS.ORG, reports on the development of the simulated universe theory, which implies that “our universe, with all its galaxies, planets, and life forms, is a meticulously programmed computer simulation.” Read the article for a scientific exploration of the theory.
About Carl Nettleton
Carl Nettleton is an award-winning writer, speaker, thought partner, facilitator, and subject-matter expert regarding water, climate, sustainability, the ocean, and binational U.S.-Mexico border affairs. Nettleton Strategies, the consultancy he founded in 2007, is a trusted source of analysis and advice on issues at the forefront of public policy, business, and the environment. He helps people and organizations to think strategically about their options for change. He is also the founder of OpenOceans Global, a nonprofit addressing ocean plastic in a new way.