Whose Choice Is It?

And whose property is it?

A new law being seriously considered by lawmakers in New York City could strip landlords of the ability to perform criminal background checks on prospective tenants.

Because landlords shouldn’t be able to control who rents their property, shouldn’t be able to protect the interests of their existing tenants—who have, by dint of their rent agreements, have some property of their own in the landlord’s buildings.

This law means it’s city government property; landlords possess the buildings only in fee from the city lords.

Republican Councilwoman Inna Vernikov has the right of it:

The Cost of Food

Saturday’s Wall Street Journal had an article centered on the difficulty of passing a farm bill that, among other things, continues subsidies for farmers. The article included some words on the bill’s food stamp program and funding, including this remark:

...SNAP, the food-stamps program is generally aimed at helping low-income households afford to buy food.

There are at least two ways to help low-income households afford to buy food. One is to restore work/train for work/school requirements to the program, which in the end, increases those families’ income.

Financial Reporting

A little bit in the weeds, here, but necessary for future understandings by some investors. The proximate matter is FTX’ collapse and bankruptcy (with possibly criminal activities associated).

In a footnote to the financial statements, the company said its “primary shareholder is also the primary shareholder of several related entities which do business with the company.” It didn’t say who the related parties were for any specific transaction it disclosed.
The standard accounting rules for disclosing related-party transactions are vague and have long been considered a weakness in the system. There is no clear-cut rule requiring companies to disclose the players in a related-party transaction. The rules do say, “If necessary to the understanding of the relationship, the name of the related party shall be disclosed.”

NASA Finally Got It Off

After two failed launch efforts, canceled due to hydrogen leaks during fueling, NASA finally got its Lockheed Martin Corp-built Artemis I to launch Wednesday morning on its multiple-week mission to the moon and back.

But not until after another hydrogen leak had to be fixed.

On Tuesday, NASA’s launch team for Artemis I was able to fuel the SLS liquid hydrogen tank relatively easily. A valve used to top off the tank, however, later began leaking, prompting the agency to send a so-called “red crew” of three people out to the launchpad to tighten the valve’s bolts.

Ubiquitous Battery-Powered Vehicles

These need things; here’s a partial list of Critical Items and some problems associated with their acquisition.

With respect to batteries, the raw materials—lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, among others—are expensive to mine and destructive of the environment to mine. Both the metals themselves and the mining tailings are highly toxic and expensive to handle and to dispose of.

Refining those materials comes with its own problems:

[The People’s Republic of China] processes some 70% of the world’s lithium and cobalt, and 99% of the manganese, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. [The PRC] also dominates the market for the parts that go into batteries, such as cathodes and anodes, as well as the production of batteries themselves.

Why Do the Workaround?

NVIDIA Corp is busily looking for ways to circumvent newly enacted rules barring export of computer chips and chip technology to the People’s Republic of China.

Nvidia Corp has begun offering an alternative to a high-end chip hit with US export restrictions to customers in China, after the new rules threatened to cost the American company hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Nvidia said the new graphics-processing chip, branded the A800, meets US restrictions on chips that can be exported to China under new rules rolled out last month. The chip went into production in the third quarter, the company said.

Anti-Democratic

Progressive-Democratic President Joe Biden claims he’s worried about anti-democratic forces in play in today’s American politics.

We must vote knowing who we have been and what we’re at risk of becoming. We must vote knowing what’s at stake and not just the policy of the moment—but institutions that have held us together, as we’ve sought a more perfect union, are also at stake.

Here’s one of those democratic institutions that’s at risk even after the just-completed elections—from Biden and his National Labor Relations Board:

[The] National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced it would start the process rescind a 2020 rule implemented to protect workers’ right to vote on removing union representation.

The Ubiquitous Computer

It’s coming to our homes?

Imagine this scenario in the not-too-distant future. You’re awakened at 6:11 a.m. by the gentle sounds of tinkling bells and birdsong, even though you live in a 12th-floor apartment. Your alarm clock uses radar to track your breathing, and wakes you gently, with sound and light, when it detects you’re in a lighter phase of sleep.
Your transition to wakefulness triggers a cascade of changes in your apartment. Your window shades open automatically. In the kitchen, coffee starts brewing. As you pad into the bathroom to brush your teeth, a display projected onto the mirror above the sink shows your calendar for the day. It highlights what time you’ll have to leave to get to your office for the in-person meeting you scheduled for 8:30.
Returning to your bedroom, you find your stowaway robotic bed has retracted….

Some Contextual Questions

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and of Alphabet’s wholly-owned subsidiary Google, in addressing anti-trust questions regarding Google’s ad-tech business, claimed that

Ad technology is a small part of what Google does, he said, and doesn’t make up a significant share of the company’s revenue, according to people familiar with the meeting [Pichai’s with Senator Mike Lee (R, UT)].

That begs a number of questions though. Questions being begged include these:

  • How much ad-tech revenue is there in the aggregate in the ad-tech market?
  • How many players are there in the ad-tech market?

A Couple Questions

Renault and Nissan are trying to reduce Renault’s participation in Nissan from its current 43% ownership to 15%—or at least Nissan is. The French government owns 15% of Renault. There are a number of impediments to the partial divestiture, including the divvying up of intellectual property that might have been developed jointly. One of the deals that would be made from the divestiture, though, involves Nissan investment in another arm of Renault (which raises the question in my peabrain about what Nissan would be getting, really, from Renault’s reduction in direct ownership of Nissan, but that’s for another time):