Michelin commits to shipping tires on sail-powered cargo vessels


There will be two of these – to start

Tire manufacturer Michelin has agreed to ship some of its tires using two sail-powered cargo ships being developed by French shipping line Neoline.

Under the agreement, tires will be loaded in containers and shipped from Michelin’s facilities in Halifax, Nova Scotia to Saint-Nazaire, France as soon as the Neoline’s first ships enter service in 2023.

Michelin’s interest in sailing cargo ships comes as the group seeks to decarbonize its logistics supply chains as part of its commitment to zero-carbon emissions by 2050…

France-based Neoline was established in 2015 with the intention of the becoming the world’s first shipowner specializing in modern cargo ships that use sails for its main propulsion. The company is in the process of constructing its first two ships that will operate between St-Nazaire, Halifax, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Baltimore on the U.S. east coast.

Bravo!

The coronavirus vaccines have surpassed expectations

The big picture: The pandemic isn’t over. There are still big threats ahead of us and big problems to solve. But for all the things that have gone wrong over the past year, the vaccines themselves have shattered even the most ambitious expectations.

The vaccines represent a “stunning scientific achievement for the world … unprecedented in the history of vaccinology,” said Dan Barouch, an expert on virology and vaccines at Harvard, who worked on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine…

Most importantly, all the leading vaccines work extremely well.

All four vaccines or vaccine candidates in the U.S. — from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson — appear to prevent coronavirus deaths, and to offer total or near-total protection against serious illness.

RTFA. Engage with scientific facts and practice. Please, please, don’t wander off into the pop culture of profiteers, economic and ideological, who seek to line their pockets by encouraging fear and foolishness.

Working remotely…


freelancernews.co.uk

In the past three decades, a series of quiet revolutions in design have changed the way offices are used, erasing former hierarchies of walls and cubicles and incorporating workplace methodologies from the technology industry into team-based, open-plan layouts. At the same time, digital tools such as e-mail, Excel, Google Docs, video conferencing, virtual whiteboarding, and chat channels like Slack have made a worker’s presence in those offices less essential. The pandemic has collapsed these divergent trends into an existential question: What’s an office for? Is it a place for newbies to learn from experienced colleagues? A way for bosses to oversee shirkers? A platform for collaboration? A source of friends and social life? A respite from the family? A reason to leave the house? It turns out that work, which is what the office was supposed to be for, is possible to do from somewhere else.

The article presents a case history of one example. Thoroughly, including alternatives. A worthwhile read.

I suggest – reading all articles of this type – you ignore any existential questions about whether or not you are qualified and capable of such a change. The honchos at home base are going to make those decisions with or without your participation. A question of corporate style, I’d say.

Articles like this are useful if you’re looking ahead and working for a firm that’s thoughtful about the future and willing to make the changes to implement a changeover like this. I went through it when I took my first position as a wholesale rep almost 40 years ago. That company was ready to grow from servicing retailers in three adjacent states – to servicing the whole East Coast. Eventually, their success story led to a complete nationwide presence. Top-shelf ranking for performance, service and profitability.

I was hired in that first wave of expansion. Though I wandered astray a time or two – tempted by offers from non-competing firms growing into the same markets – I ended up back with the same folks for a couple of decades. For me, the change to remote digital sales management, communications, was a piece of cake.

BTW, I still have my original Tandy TRS80 Model 100 laptop. The tech that kicked-off consideration of expansion, digital tech beyond/beside a corporate mainframe to build a business. Scary, successful, groundbreaking and very satisfying.

Will the (electric) future be made in America?

President Joe Biden said Monday the U.S. government would replace the entire federal fleet of cars, trucks and SUVs with electric vehicles manufactured in the United States, a commitment tied to a broader campaign promise to create 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry and supply chains…

Biden made the comments prior to signing the Made in America executive order, which places stricter rules on the federal government’s procurement practices. The government has existing “buy American” rules, which states that a certain amount of a product must be made in the U.S. for a purchase to qualify for a federal contract.

The opportunity is a large one. The U.S. government had more than 645,000 vehicles in its fleet in 2019, the most recent data available from the General Services Agency. Of those, about 224,000 are passenger vehicles and more than 412,000 are trucks.

Of course, the conversion to a carbon neutral economy will take steps like this to achieve qualitative change. What to watch, now, is to see who steps up to help…or hinder the change.

iPhone is today’s Brownie camera

Another solid, thoroughly enjoyable article by Om Malik

…what both the Brownie and the iPhone accomplished went beyond technology. Separated by almost 100 years, they were decidedly utilitarian. The Brownie put photography in the hands of amateurs, and so has the iPhone.

They each contributed to the rise of the informal photograph in their respective eras. With the Brownie, people were taking the camera out to the beach, on cruise ships, and to other vacation destinations. Of course, the smartphone is even more portable. We are all carrying one now, and we have the ability to make pictures immediately wherever we are and share them almost simultaneously…

I own two lovely digital cameras. Slightly different eras, different form factors. I used them constantly to illustrate work on-and-offline for more than a few decades. I can’t recall the last time I took either of them with me for a walk of discovery, urban or otherwise. I take photos with my iPhone, just about every day. To what end, what purpose? Just read Om’s article.

Farmer Bill

According to the Tri-City Herald, a 14,500-acre swath of choice eastern Washington farmland in the Horse Heaven Hills of Benton County had just traded hands for almost $171 million. That’s a ginormous deal, one that pencils out to almost $12,000 per acre for a whole lot of acres. Pretty pricey dirt, right? That’s exactly what I thought. Especially when it comes to row crops like sweet corn and wheat, which were grown in rotation with potatoes on 100 Circles, which is the name of the property that changed hands.

Then again, farmers and investors in the Mid-Columbia River market expect to pay $10,000 to $15,000 for good ground. Anyone who has ever studied the Columbia River Basin knows that the tillable acreage there is coveted ground, a geologic wonder. The soil profile and underlying silty loess are in a league of their own.

Tens of thousands of acres? [In 2018] Only sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors can stroke a check for tracts in that league, which is exactly what occurred on the sell side of the 100 Circles transaction: The seller was John Hancock Life Insurance, a multibillion-dollar asset manager with key holdings in all the major U.S. markets as well as Canada and Australia.

The story went dark on the buy side, however.

Eric O’Keefe, the author of this piece, then launches into research and analysis in his attempt to scope out the purchaser. All interesting. All part of his experience in agriculture. And he found out nothing.

The smart thing to do is find another expert better than you are. He turned the question over to SUCCESSFUL FARMING’S Land Report 100 Research Team. Minutes later, a terse response arrived:

“Ever hear of Bill Gates?”