The Boston Beer Co., which brews Sam Adams, has seen its stock soar. The brewer reported net revenue of $181.3 million in the second quarter of 2013.
Mehta conducted the Bavarian State Orchestra in Srinagar over the weekend. But the audience of mostly VIPs rankled many Kashmiris — and the heavy police presence served as a reminder of the security situation in the restive Indian state.
In southern Louisiana, the coast is moving. The sea is overtaking the land...pretty fast, too. Stronger hurricanes and tropical storms predicted for coming decades will wash away more of it. And while you often hear people invoke the rich cultural heritage as a reason to save the region, there’s a lot of rich oil and gas companies that would like protection, too.
Terrebonne Parish is the setting for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," last year’s Oscar-nominated film about a magical little girl and her swamp community, the Bathtub. The fictional Bathtub people live outside levee protection. As sea levels rise they fight to survive -- and they look it. A ragtag crew of revelers.
Businessman Oneil Marlborough’s family goes back generations here. He couldn’t look more opposite, all resilient good cheer in khakis and a button-down. He’s fighting for his community, in real life. “We see in our lifetime that the water is higher today, under normal conditions, than it was 30 years ago,” he says. Tidal gauges prove it, he says.
Marlborough owns an engineering firm that’s designed much of the flood protection for Terrebonne Parish. The system can open and close, a consideration made specifically for the oil industry. The huge boats that service offshore rigs need to get in and out.
“We got to keep them open, for navigation, because navigation is our jobs," Marlborough says.
He drives me down the spine of road along the Houma Navigation Canal. It’s lined with mom-and-pop boat yards and pipefitters, along with big corporate names like Halliburton. At the end is open water, with a miles-long wall, 12-feet tall, and a wide gate in the middle of it. Wide enough to bring in oil drilling machinery for safe harbor, in the event of a hurricane.
“There’s a 200-foot opening, and there’s a barge that’s on a hinge. It’s 200 feet, by 20 feet deep, by 40 feet wide, so it’s a big heavy piece of metal, but floating in the water it’s easy to move,” he says.
This idea for a floating door to the huge flood gate came from the oil industry, he says. For decades, oil and gas drillers have learned to build things out on the water. Local firms like Marlborough’s have specialized to meet their needs, and met government needs in the process.
"We’ve developed expertise in working in the marsh and the soils we have to deal with," Marlborough says.
That’s exactly the kind of expertise Allison Plyer sees as a new economic driver for Louisiana. She heads the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center.
“We have the opportunity to become the leaders in coastal restoration. And we know there will be market opportunities for that, because the whole coastline of the U.S. is at risk.”
Louisiana experts are already in New York and New Jersey, helping out in the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy. Plyer says now’s the time to develop those skills into an industry, with higher-education programs.
At Delgado Community College in New Orleans, Bettie Abbate directs the horticulture program. She teaches her students to grow all kinds of things…including native marsh plants.
"This doesn’t look like much, looks like a weed you’d have growing in your back yard," she says. "This is a grass. It’s easy to propogate. I could get eight plants from this one one-gallon plant."
She’s taken students from around the country down to Grand Isle, a barrier island off the coast of Louisiana. They brought little plugs of grass to replace what’s washed away in hurricanes.
"We had a trailer full that we brought down there, and we totally replanted that berm. Those berms on the beach in Grand Isle are the first line of defense."
The students were taken by the beauty of the landscape, she says. And they saw what those little grasses that hold the sand together help defend. The cranes of Port Fourchon, where hundreds of supply boats come and go to serve offshore rigs. Eighteen of the nation’s oil supply relies on this port.
"And then they realize the economic importance to the rest of the country. And they’re like 'we get it,' 'we get why we have to do this.'”
On the way home, she said, water lapped at the one road from the island. The oil industry, and government, don’t seem to be counting much on Grand Isle for protection. They’ve spent hundreds of millions to build a highrise bridge to Port Fourchon, high above the old road, and high above the marsh.
We are borrowing more.
In July we borrowed 4.4 percent more than we borrowed in the same month last year. How much money did Americans borrow in July? A whopping $2.853 trillion -- $10.4 billion more than we borrowed in June.
Conventional wisdom says this is a good thing: the more we borrow, the more we spend. And the more we spend, the more money companies make, which means they can make more stuff, and employ more people and grow. And as companies grow, so does the nation.
Unfortunately, that's not the kind of borrowing that we're seeing. People who borrow in order to spend, do so by hammering their credit cards. But the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve show that credit card borrowing (called revolving credit in the financial world) is falling: down 2.6 percent compared to last year. And this is the second month in a row that revolving credit is down.
Instead, so-called non-revolving credit, which means loans taken out to finance cars, boats, vacations and education, rose 7.4 percent compared to last year.
Wow! 7.4 percent! That's $12.3 billion more than last month! So where did all that money go? Not into cars: auto sales were down one percent in July. Maybe into vacations; we certainly traveled a lot in July. And maybe into boats: powerboat sales jumped 18 percent that month. But not that many people are buying boats these days. It seems likely that the real gains were seen in student borrowing. And that's bad news.
Why? Because money spent on education doesn't filter into the economy in the same way. It doesn't provide retailers and producers with the same kind of shot in the arm that breaking out the credit card can.
Of course, some people might consider it a good thing that people aren't maxing out their credit cards at the mall -- shouldn't we be deleveraging right now, as opposed to loading up on debt? The problem is, of course, that we're not deleveraging. Borrowing is still up, but the money's not being spent on things that will help us recover. Instead, much of it is loading students down with debt that could hinder their progress through school and through life, and possibly create an even greater drag on the economy.
While making the case for striking Syria, the secretary of state also tried to reassure Americans and U.S. allies that the effort won't draw the nation into another war. His choice of words is getting attention.
To “encrypt” is the act of concealing data by converting it into code. And as we learned last week, much of the “encryption” technology companies use to make our information safe online might not be that safe after all.
According to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency has used supercomputers to crack the codes or worked with tech companies to find a way around them to decode encrypted data. Well today, Google announced it’s fighting back and beefing up its encryption.
Most of the data we give Google -- in emails and searches -- that’s encrypted. But eventually, all that information ends up on Google’s servers. And when they pass the data back and forth, it’s not encrypted.
Google’s said it’s going to start encrypting that data, said Matt Blaze, a cyber-security professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
“And essentially what that does is makes it more difficult for the NSA to make any sense of communications that it intercepts without Google’s cooperation,” said Blaze.
And Blaze says that it’s not just the National Security Agency. We’ve known for a that countries like China and Russia are trying to get a hold of our data too. He thinks companies like Microsoft and Amazon are making similar updates too.
Looked at one way, today’s announcement is a PR offensive, said Matthew Green is a cyber-security professor at Johns Hopkins University.
“They’re announcing this today to make sure that people know that this is important to them,” Green said.
By “people,” Green’s talking about companies that store their data and do their computing on Google’s servers. By one account, cloud services rang up about $18 billion in worldwide sales last year.
But cybersecurity experts say, the effectiveness of Google’s new safeguards will probably be short lived, said Dan Kaminsky, a cybersecurity expert.
“You know the honest truth is it is an arms race, the other side has all the cards,” Kaminsky said.
Still, Kaminsky says if Google wants to compete for business abroad, it’s got to show the world that it’s doing everything it can to keep its data private