• You might see two very different kinds of internets in the future. Here's what to expect. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 15:31

    The internet is changing, including how much we pay for content and the ads and brands we see.

    That’s because Apple and Google, two hugely influential tech companies, are rolling out privacy protections that hinder marketers from gaining access to our data when they show us ads. The changes have major repercussions for online advertising, which are a business foundation for the free apps and websites that many of us use, like Facebook, TikTok and the Weather Channel. Those sites and apps now have to come up with new ways to show ads or make money.

    Here’s what that means for you.

  • Proponents of synthetic biology say the field could reprogram biology to increase food production, fight disease, generate energy and purify water. The realization of that potential lies decades in the future, if at all. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 15:01

    BOSTON — Two white-coated lab technicians, seated at work stations in a corner, are vastly outnumbered by the machines. Robotic arms calibrate liquids in microdrops. Small trays, with 96 tiny wells each, shuttle around the lab on magnetic tracks. Centrifuges whir. Gene sequencers hum.

    The highly mechanized lab — operated by Ginkgo Bioworks, a fast-growing start-up in Boston — is an engine room of synthetic biology, an emerging field that applies the tools of engineering and computing to make entirely new organisms or genetically turbocharge existing ones.

    Proponents of synthetic biology say the field could reprogram biology to increase food production, fight disease, generate energy and purify water. The realization of that potential lies decades in the future, if at all. But it is no longer the stuff of pure science fiction because of advances in recent years in biology, computing, automation and artificial intelligence.

    Money is pouring into the field....

  • RT @GregoryNYC: Good morning! M&S blames supply chain problems caused by Brexit as it closes some stores in France, and retail sales rose i…
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 14:41
  • An intensifying battle over how the internet will operate is reshaping what is known as the “free and open web.” Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 14:31

    SAN FRANCISCO — Apple introduced a pop-up window for iPhones in April that asks people for their permission to be tracked by different apps.

    Google recently outlined plans to disable a tracking technology in its Chrome web browser.

    And Facebook said last month that hundreds of its engineers were working on a new method of showing ads without relying on people’s personal data.

    The developments may seem like technical tinkering, but they were connected to something bigger: an intensifying battle over the future of the internet. The struggle has entangled tech titans, upended Madison Avenue and disrupted small businesses. And it heralds a profound shift in how people’s personal information may be used online, with sweeping implications for the ways that businesses make money digitally.

    At the center of the tussle is what has been the internet’s lifeblood: advertising.

    More than 20 years ago, the internet drove an upheaval in the advertising industry....

  • California's executive branch has gained much more power over state housing policy than it had even a few years ago. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 14:01

    Having survived a recall vote, the governor is free to focus on the state’s homeless population and housing shortage. He has more room to maneuver than he did when he first took office.

  • In today's DealBook newsletter: a timeline of railroad M&A drama; Goldman's latest attempt to become the Walmart of banking; Jeffrey Katzenberg on what went wrong at Quibi; and more. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 13:31

    One of the most compelling dealmaking sagas this year hasn’t been in tech, pharma or another industry that often dominates the news. It is a bidding war among railroads — what century is this again? — that has generated high drama. At stake was possibly the last major acquisition of a railroad, ending a long period of consolidation in the industry.

    Canadian Pacific has emerged as the victor in a long-running battle to acquire Kansas City Southern, putting it in position to become the first railroad operator whose network spans the U.S., Canada and Mexico, allowing it to capitalize on trade flows across North America. Most notably, it won with a lower offer than rival bidder Canadian National, which announced yesterday that Kansas City Southern was terminating the merger agreement the companies signed in May.

    The key was “to avoid a bidding war,” Canadian Pacific’s C.E.O., Keith Creel, told DealBook. So how did it prevail with a lower price? Hop aboard for a quick...

  • Apple and Google are rolling out privacy protections that hinder marketers from gaining access to our data when they show us ads. But sites and apps like Facebook, TikTok and the Weather Channel now have to come up with new ways to show ads or make money.  Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 13:01

    The internet is changing, including how much we pay for content and the ads and brands we see.

    That’s because Apple and Google, two hugely influential tech companies, are rolling out privacy protections that hinder marketers from gaining access to our data when they show us ads. The changes have major repercussions for online advertising, which are a business foundation for the free apps and websites that many of us use, like Facebook, TikTok and the Weather Channel. Those sites and apps now have to come up with new ways to show ads or make money.

    Here’s what that means for you.

  • A SpaceX rocket lifted off carrying four Americans to orbit the Earth for three days. The mission, known as Inspiration4, is the first orbital trip where not one of the people aboard is a professional astronaut. Link.
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 11:41
    The four crew members of the Inspiration4 mission, all civilians, reached orbit. The capsule they are riding in, named Resilience, will orbit Earth for three days at an altitude of up to 360 miles.
  • Researchers in Israel reported that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine can prevent both infections and severe illness in adults older than 60 for at least 12 days. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 10:41

    Wading into an acrimonious debate over booster doses, researchers in Israel reported on Wednesday that a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine can prevent both infections and severe illness in adults older than 60 for at least 12 days.

    The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, is the latest salvo in the conflict over whether booster doses are needed for healthy adults and whether they should be given out, as the Biden administration plans to do, when so much of the world remains unvaccinated.

    Several independent scientists said the cumulative data so far suggest that only older adults will need boosters — and maybe not even them.

    Vaccination remains powerfully protective against severe illness and hospitalization in the vast majority of people in all of the studies published so far, experts said. But the vaccines do seem less potent against infections in people of all ages, particularly those exposed to the highly contagious...

  • Many of the images taken by New York Times photographers of the fall coronavirus economy echoed the isolation of the previous year, while the springtime economy also showed that progress was real. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 05:10

    Cities and large parts of the economy continued to bounce back this year, as if returning to some sense of normalcy. But when the pandemic’s path veered, so did our sense of where the finish line was.

  • National Grid, the British electric power company, said that a fire had occurred at a facility near the English Channel and that the cable would be out of service for about six months – jolting energy markets. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 04:55

    A fire in a cable connecting the British and French power systems sent already overheated British electricity rates soaring Wednesday.

    National Grid, the British electric power company, said that the fire had occurred at a facility in Sellindge, near the English Channel, and that the cable would be out of service for about six months.

    The cause of the fire was said to be under investigation.

    The Kent Fire and Rescue Service said Wednesday morning that it was fighting the blaze with as many as 12 fire engines and making “progress,” though firefighters were expected to remain on the scene for hours.

    News of the outage jolted the markets. A measure of wholesale electricity, British day-ahead power prices, reached as high as 481.88 pounds per megawatt-hour, according to Epex Spot, a trading platform. That level is several times what is normal, though prices had been soaring in recent days.

  • Generac’s dominance of the market of standby home generator sales in the United States and the growing threat posed by increasingly erratic weather have turned it into a Wall Street darling. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 01:15

    Living on the South Carolina coast means living under the threat of dangerous weather during storm season. But the added peril of the pandemic made Ann Freeman nervous.

    “What do I do if there’s an evacuation or there’s a storm and you have all this coronavirus and problems with hotels?” Ms. Freeman said. “So I said, ‘Maybe now is the time.’”

    That’s why Ms. Freeman spent $12,400 last year to install a Generac backup generator at her home on Johns Island, a sea island near the Charleston peninsula. The wait — about three months — seemed long.

    But she was lucky: The wait is twice as long now.

    Demand for backup generators has soared over the last year, as housebound Americans focused on preparing their homes for the worst, just as a surge of extreme weather ensured many experienced it.

  • As extreme weather surged, demand for backup generators has soared over the last year, as housebound Americans focused on preparing their homes for the worst, @MatthewPhillips writes. Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 00:45

    Living on the South Carolina coast means living under the threat of dangerous weather during storm season. But the added peril of the pandemic made Ann Freeman nervous.

    “What do I do if there’s an evacuation or there’s a storm and you have all this coronavirus and problems with hotels?” Ms. Freeman said. “So I said, ‘Maybe now is the time.’”

    That’s why Ms. Freeman spent $12,400 last year to install a Generac backup generator at her home on Johns Island, a sea island near the Charleston peninsula. The wait — about three months — seemed long.

    But she was lucky: The wait is twice as long now.

    Demand for backup generators has soared over the last year, as housebound Americans focused on preparing their homes for the worst, just as a surge of extreme weather ensured many experienced it.

  • New York Times photographers documented the coronavirus economy as plotlines shifted, fractured and diverged. Here is what they found: Link
    NYT Business Thu 16 Sep 2021 00:25

    Cities and large parts of the economy continued to bounce back this year, as if returning to some sense of normalcy. But when the pandemic’s path veered, so did our sense of where the finish line was.

  • The railroads are looking to capitalize on trade flows across North America on the heels of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 23:50

    Canadian Pacific has emerged as the winner in a long-running battle to acquire Kansas City Southern, putting it in position to become the first railroad operator whose network extends from Canada to Mexico.

    Its rival in the bidding, Canadian National, said on Wednesday that it had received notice from Kansas City Southern that it was terminating a merger agreement they signed in May.

    “The decision not to pursue our proposed merger with KCS any further is the right decision for CN as responsible fiduciaries of our shareholders’ interests,” Jean-Jacques Ruest, the chief executive of Canadian National, said in a statement.

    At stake was possibly the last major acquisition of a major railroad; mergers have consolidated the industry to seven railways from more than 100. The key component of the deal is access to Mexico, as railroads look to capitalize on trade flows across North America on the heels of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which was signed into...

  • .@stanleyreed12 writes that bizarre events at Britain’s power company illustrate how electric power systems are under pressure from the closing of conventional plants powered by coal and nuclear, and the growing reliance on renewable energy. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 23:15

    A fire in a cable connecting the British and French power systems has sent already overheated British electricity rates soaring Wednesday.

    National Grid, the British electric power company, said the fire occurred at a facility in Sellindge, near the English Channel, and that the cable would be out of service for about a month.

    The cause of the fire was said to be under investigation.

    The Kent Fire and Rescue Service said Wednesday morning it was fighting the blaze with as many as 12 fire engines and making “progress,” though firefighters were expected to remain on the scene for hours.

    News of the outage jolted the markets. A measure of wholesale electricity, British day-ahead power prices, reached as high as 481.88 pounds per megawatt-hour, according to Epex Spot, a trading platform. That level is several times what is normal, though prices have been soaring in recent days.

  • A report released on Tuesday that examined poverty in the United States compares the effectiveness of government stimulus in response to the two most recent economic emergencies: the 2009 financial crisis and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 21:00
    Tim Boyle, the chief executive of Columbia Sportswear, said his company had drafted a vaccine mandate months ago, but held off carrying it out until now.Credit...Corey Arnold for The New York Times
  • Generac, the Wisconsin-based manufacturer that dominates the backup generator market, is an unlikely Wall Street darling. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 20:35

    Living on the South Carolina coast means living under the threat of dangerous weather during storm season. But the added peril of the pandemic made Ann Freeman nervous.

    “What do I do if there’s an evacuation or there’s a storm and you have all this coronavirus and problems with hotels?” Ms. Freeman said. “So I said, ‘Maybe now is the time.’”

    That’s why Ms. Freeman spent $12,400 last year to install a Generac backup generator at her home on Johns Island, a sea island near the Charleston peninsula. The wait — about three months — seemed long.

    But she was lucky: The wait is twice as long now.

    Demand for backup generators has soared over the last year, as housebound Americans focused on preparing their homes for the worst, just as a surge of extreme weather ensured many experienced it.

  • Amazon announced Tuesday that it planned to hire 125,000 people in its U.S. operations in advance of the holiday shopping season. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 20:00

    SAN JOSE, Calif. — A key whistle-blower against Theranos, the blood testing start-up that collapsed under scandal in 2018, testified on Tuesday in the fraud trial of the company’s founder, Elizabeth Holmes.

    The whistle-blower, Erika Cheung, worked as a lab assistant at Theranos for six months in 2013 and 2014 before reporting lab testing problems at the company to federal agents at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2015. Her first day of testimony revealed to a jury what those following the Theranos saga most likely already knew: The company’s celebrated blood testing technology did not work.

    Her testimony is expected to continue on Wednesday.

    In a crowded courtroom, Ms. Cheung said she had turned down other job offers out of college to join Theranos because she was dazzled by Ms. Holmes’s charisma and inspired by her success as a woman in technology. Ms. Holmes said Theranos’s machines, called Edison, would be able to quickly and cheaply...

  • SpaceX will launch a crew of four space tourists to orbit later today. Here's what you need to know. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 19:35

    When the next SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Kennedy Space Center this week, it’ll be a space mission unlike any that has come before.

    There will be four people inside the capsule on top of the rocket, just like the last two SpaceX missions that took NASA astronauts to the International Space Station. But this time, none of the four passengers work for NASA or any other space agency.

    This mission, called Inspiration4, is the brainchild of Jared Isaacman, the billionaire founder of Shift4, a company that provides payment processes services. Three other people — none of whom Mr. Isaacman knew before he recruited them for the launch — will join him on a trip that will circle Earth for three days before splashing down off the coast of Florida.

  • In On Tech, @shiraovide poses a provocative question: What if smartphones are so successful and useful that they are holding back innovation? Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 19:05

    This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.

    I’m going to pose an intentionally provocative question: What if smartphones are so successful and useful that they are holding back innovation?

    Technologists are now imagining what could be the next big thing. But there may never be anything else like the smartphone, the first and perhaps last mass market and globally transformative computer.

    I may wind up looking like a 19th-century futurist who couldn’t imagine that horses would be replaced by cars. But let me make the case that the phenomenon of the smartphone may never be replicated.

    First, when people in technology imagine the future, they’re implicitly betting that smartphones will be displaced as the center of our digital lives by things that are less obvious — not slabs that pull us away from our world but technologies that are almost indistinguishable from the air that we breathe.

  • Con 15 millones de dólares de fondos privados, la empresa Colossal intentará crear miles de mamuts lanudos para que vuelvan a Siberia. Algunos científicos se muestran profundamente escépticos ante la posibilidad de que eso suceda. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 18:35

    Con 15 millones en fondos privados, la empresa Colossal intentará crear miles de mamuts lanudos para que vuelvan a Siberia. Algunos científicos son profundamente escépticos ante la posibilidad de que eso suceda.

  • Ford Motor and its autonomous driving affiliate, Argo AI, have teamed up with Walmart to begin testing the home delivery of groceries and other items by self-driving cars in three cities later this year. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 18:05
    Bryan Salesky, the chief executive of Argo AI, in 2019. “We’re showing the potential for autonomous vehicle delivery services at scale,” he said of the partnership.Credit...Michael Noble Jr. for The New York Times
  • Generac, the Wisconsin-based manufacturer that dominates the backup generator market, is an unlikely Wall Street darling. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 17:30

    Living on the South Carolina coast means living under the threat of dangerous weather during storm season. But the added peril of the pandemic made Ann Freeman nervous.

    “What do I do if there’s an evacuation or there’s a storm and you have all this coronavirus and problems with hotels?” Ms. Freeman said. “So I said, ‘Maybe now is the time.’”

    That’s why Ms. Freeman spent $12,400 last year to install a Generac backup generator at her home on Johns Island, a sea island near the Charleston peninsula. The wait — about three months — seemed long.

    But she was lucky: The wait is twice as long now.

    Demand for backup generators has soared over the last year, as housebound Americans focused on preparing their homes for the worst, just as a surge of extreme weather ensured many experienced it.

  • A fire in a cable connecting the British and French power systems has sent already overheated British electricity rates soaring Wednesday. Link
    NYT Business Wed 15 Sep 2021 17:00

    A fire in a cable connecting the British and French power systems has sent already overheated British electricity rates soaring Wednesday.

    National Grid, the British electric power company, said the fire occurred at a facility in Sellindge, near the English Channel, and that the cable would be out of service for about a month.

    The cause of the fire was said to be under investigation.

    The Kent Fire and Rescue Service said Wednesday morning it was fighting the blaze with as many as 12 fire engines and making “progress,” though firefighters were expected to remain on the scene for hours.

    News of the outage jolted the markets. A measure of wholesale electricity, British day-ahead power prices, reached as high as 481.88 pounds per megawatt-hour, according to Epex Spot, a trading platform. That level is several times what is normal, though prices have been soaring in recent days.

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