Light Reading

McDonalds turns 75 today, an empire of 36,000 restaurants in 199 countries. McDonalds is the largest buyer of beef, pork, potatoes, lettuce, and tomatoes globally and the second largest buyer of chicken after KFC. While faced with greater competition, McDonalds has started to revamp its offerings to recapture what it has lost and meet need market demands.

– Blue singer who needs no introduction, B.B King died while in hospice last night. He was 89 years old.

– Preliminary information from the International Energy Agency shows CO2 emissions did not increase in 2014. The significance? First time in 40 years there was a halt or reduction in emissions. Much of this can be attributed to changes in energy generation in China and OECD countries from ” greater generation of electricity from renewable sources, such as hydropower, solar and wind, and less burning of coal.”

Interesting post by Sandwichman at Econospeak on this topic. “Fast forward to today. We want more jobs — that is to say more hours of work –but we want less greenhouse gas emissions. We face not only a paradox; but, a dilemma. The horns of this dilemma are yoked together, not just ‘in principle’ but in the physical, mechanical agent of both the economy of fuel and the economy of labor: the machine.” Can not get one without the other?

– Roads surfaces harnessing solar power? So far the effort to use the ~37 million miles of road globally has not been successful or cheap. Netherlands based Sola Roads has installed solar panels protected by glass and bedded on rubber and concrete in cycling roads and is achieving positive results. Next step is to install the panels on roads and see if the panels and installations will hold-up under automobile and truck traffic in the same manner and results.

“No Good Reason To Work 5 Days a Week.” A 1965 Senate subcommittee predicted Americans would work 14-hour weeks by the year 2000, and before that, back in 1928, John Maynard Keynes wrote “technological advancement would bring the workweek down to 15 hours within 100 years.” To date we have not made much progress in this direction and even though the ratio of direct labor content has decreased, many still contend Labor is the largest cost factor.

Are workers more efficient working 4 days per week as opposed to 5? “the clever system devised at a company he used to work for. The company was divided into two teams. One would work from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and the other would work those hours from Tuesday to Friday. The teams would switch schedules every week, so every two-day weekend would be followed by a four-day weekend. The results, Stephens reports, were positive. The company was open five days a week, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. instead of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. He claims that morale skyrocketed. Employees took fewer sick days, visiting the doctor in off hours rather than during the workday.” It appears workers were more efficient in this example.