Week of August 30, 2020

August 30, 2020

Please find our weekly content, musings, and ideas.  Feel free to contact us with any questions or if you would like any of the below web content emailed to you (some are paywall sites).  tf@rivergrasswm.com


Stuff I read and that gets stuck in my head

“Their vast glittering openness . . . the racing free saltness and sweetness of their massive winds, under the dazzling blue heights of space. . . The miracle of the light pours over the green and brown expanse of saw grass and of water, shining and slow moving below. . . It is a river of grass.”  Marjorie Stoneman Douglas

“the past is never dead. It’s not even past.”  William Faulkner

“Humanity is experiencing an extraordinary burst of evolutionary change, driven by good old-fashioned Darwinian natural selection.  But it is a selection among ideas, not among genes.  The habitat in which these ideas reside consists of human brains.”  Matt Ridley

“Every nation or group of nations has its own tale to tell.  Knowledge of the trials and struggles is necessary to all who would comprehend the problems, perils, challenges, and opportunities which confront us today.”  Winston Churchill

Human Tribe & Ingenuity

People working better together and inspiring each other

Our world has a great need for engineers and students of the true sciences.  Their ingenuity will make our world cleaner, more equitable, and a better place for our children and generations to come. JB Straubel, formerly the chief technology officer at Tesla, is mining used batteries for raw materials, potentially cutting the cost of electric batteries by half.  Cheaper Electric Cars

Why does Warren Buffet still live in a $31,500 house he bought in the 1960s?  Because he is a student of compounding interest and starting your savings as soon as possible.  Buffet's 300k Haircut

A good article on how vacation destinations have been affected by the virus and the rise in outdoor/camping visitors.  Might be a good time to visit Jackson Hole, WY.  On a personal note, I spoke with a friend of mine in Jackson who said high school enrollment is up 200 students (25%!) from last year.  People are leaving the big cities.  Is this temporary, only time will tell.  Destinations Where Tourism is Doing Better Than Ever

Cyclists have been Germophobes Forever I have been a big fan of cycling since the Tour de France was only shown as weekly recaps in the late 1970s and early 80s.  I don’t watch it quite as much now that it’s hard to find an American on the start list of the Tour (if you haven’t watched the ESPN documentary on Lance, you should.  It’s especially fascinating if you watch the Jordan documentary first.  What it takes to drive these athletes is extreme and personal).  Who knew that cyclists haven’t been shaking hands since long before COVID? 

Black Swans & Other Market Tidbits

What is on the horizon that could trip us up

Who Won the Election? Clearly there is organized unrest in our Country.  Who knows who is responsible for this organization, I’ll leave that up to the experts.  However, what happens if we don’t know who won the election for days, or weeks, or months.  A disputed election will only ramp up the rhetoric and unrest.  How will the markets react?  Who Won the Election?

COVID All signs are trending in a positive direction in the US with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all declining.  COVID-19 Tracker But as Europe begins to reopen, their cases are beginning to tick up.  As schools and colleges being to return to campus, will there be another surge in cases? Bama COVID  What effect will cooler weather have on COVID?  Will we have a vaccine?  COVID Vaccine Tracker  Is the world prepared for another pandemic or is each country on their own to protect their people?  WHO Weakness  Since recorded time, and probably a long time before that, pandemics have been a part of human history.  We will have another pandemic at some point.  Whether we use the global supply chain or we become more self-sufficient as individual nations, we need to be better prepared for the next global disease.

New World Order Following two world wars, America developed the strategy to create world organizations, protect and develop alliances with Europe to guard against the Soviets, and have a military presence around the world to keep trade routes and allies safe from interference.  Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there is less of an American need for various alliances, world organizations, and global military policing.  US Troops in Iraq Cut by 1/3 we reduce the world’s reliance on the United States to keep things straight (and pay for it), what is likely to develop?  Will Japan, with its deepwater access and strong naval and financial presence take up the slack?  How does Abe stepping down affect things?  Abes Legacy

Municipality Trouble on the Horizon?  It certainly feels like the Fed has acted as a backstop for COVID related financial woes.  However, there are municipalities with great funding issues for their pensions.  Don’t look now, but Chicago is back in the news, not for riots but for pension issues (shocker!).

Hurricanes! We in Florida are familiar with this, but hurricane season is just starting for real.  From now until the end of October is the most active part of of the season.  As tragic as Hurricane Laura was, the refineries in the area dodged a bullet.  Had the storm been just a few miles further west, or moved slower, the damage could have been much more extensive.  With more and more building on the coasts, we will continue to have larger financial impact due to hurricanes.  Tracker

As enhanced unemployment benefits and PPP money begins to run out, how will the markets react.  Consumer Spending slowed in July.  Less spending means less stuff being consumed, at some point that has to be detrimental to the bottom lines of large companies.

Disney’s release of Mulan will be a test of a new pricing structure.  Not only do you have to subscribe to Disney + to be able to watch the movie (at $6.99 per month), you also have to buy the movie for $30.  As people continue to cut the cord from traditional tv content providers, at what point will all the additional costs become more expensive than the old media structures?  And what impact with 5g have?