Economy

Greenhouse gas escaping in the Arctic could cause economic harm, experts say

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 24, 2013   View Article

Methane bubbling to the surface as the Arctic sea ice retreats could have catastrophic consequences for the global economy, a team of researchers argue in a new paper. To avoid the economic pain measured in tens of trillions of dollars over the coming century will “require major reductions in global emissions” of greenhouse gases, the team concludes.

The economic fallout will come from an added uptick in extreme weather, rising seas, reduced crop yields and other impacts already associated with global climate change.

Caterpillar Fungus Making Tibetan Herders Rich

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 27, 2011   View Article

Harvesting of a parasitic fungus that grows high on the Tibetan Plateau in China is infusing hordes of cash into rural communities, scientists say.

The fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, takes over the bodies of caterpillar larvae then shoots up like finger-size blades of grass out of the dead insects’ heads.

Known as yartsa gunbu—or “summer grass winter worm”—by Chinese consumers, the nutty-tasting fungus is highly valued for its purported medicinal benefits, for instance, as a treatment for cancer and aging and as a libido booster. Far away in the booming cities of Beijing and Shanghai, demand for the fungus has soared.

4 lessons from a 97 year old real estate agent

Publication: MSN/SwitchYard Media   Date: September 16, 2010   View Article

Buy a house today if you can, but don’t sell one if you don’t have to, says George W. Johnson, a 97-year-old real-estate agent who has been working the Seattle market since 1936.

Johnson, who is reluctant to call himself America’s oldest real-estate agent — he says he just learned of a 99-year-old broker in Florida — has seen his share of housing booms and busts since he hung his first real-estate shingle 74 years ago.

Seven rock-solid careers from the Stone Age

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: August 7, 2010   View Article

If nuclear war, the Great Recession or some other calamity turns the economy back to the Stone Age, what kind of jobs and industries will pay the bills?

Archaeologists, for reasons more to do with academic curiosity than preparing for doomsday, have been hard at work looking for an answer.

The business of Mother’s Day

Publication: MSN/SwitchYard Media   Date: May 2, 2010   View Article

As holiday spending goes, only Christmas eclipses Mother’s Day.

The second Sunday of May — May 9 this year — is a big day not only for America’s 83 million moms, but also for sellers of things that smell nice, look pretty, taste yummy or feel good. All told, the run-up to Mother’s Day 2010 is expected to bring in $14.6 billion in U.S. sales, according to a survey released by the National Retail Federation. (Preliminary U.S. sales figures for last year’s Christmas season totaled $446.8 billion.)

It’s estimated that sons and daughters will shell out an average of $126.90 each on the mother figures in their lives. Most — 83% — will focus their shopping on their moms or stepmoms, though wives, daughters, grandmothers and sisters make many lists as well.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach