Increasing Returns to Scale – Louth Online Mon, 27 Jun 2022 04:48:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Increasing Returns to Scale – Louth Online 32 32 NATO is preparing to strengthen the defense of the Baltic countries against the Russian threat Mon, 27 Jun 2022 04:00:58 +0000

NATO must agree to an overhaul of its battle plans to provide better protection for the alliance’s eastern flank, tearing up a pattern that could have meant giving up and then attempting to retake the Baltic states in the event of a Russian invasion.

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, told the Financial Times that the new military plan, due to be agreed at an annual summit of alliance leaders this week, would significantly improve its eastern defences, shifting the focus from deterrence of any invasion to complete defense of Allied territory.

The Estonian prime minister claimed current doctrine accepted that the Baltic states would be “wiped off the map” in the event of a Russian assault before NATO attempted a counterattack to liberate them after 180 days.

“We never share details of operational plans,” Stoltenberg said. “But I can assure you that we have been able to protect countries bordering Russia for decades, adjusting our presence in light of the threat assessment. We have done that before and we will do it again. .”

The alliance would “significantly strengthen” its defenses in Eastern Europe, he said, promising that Russia would not be able to seize the Estonian capital Tallinn “just as it was unable to seize the city of Kirkenes in northern Norway or West Berlin during the Cold War”.

The new ‘strategic concept’, due to be signed off at the Madrid summit which begins on Tuesday, would set out its goals and approaches for the next decade and agree a significantly expanded plan to defend its easternmost allies in response. to the invasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin. from Ukraine.

This will include new structures in which Western NATO allies, such as the United States, United Kingdom and France, would commit to having their troops, ships and warplanes ready to deploy to specific territories on the eastern flank of the alliance, with graduated response times from the opening. hours of any attack.

The new approach, which reverts to elements of NATO’s Cold War planning for a possible Soviet invasion, would allow alliance military commanders to know in advance, at all times, exactly what forces are on standby. and how quickly they could enter the battlefield.

Russia would be singled out as “the most direct and immediate threat to our security,” Stoltenberg said.

The summit comes as Moscow escalates tension with mounting threats against Lithuania over cargo shipments to the enclave of Kaliningrad, a flashpoint long identified by NATO as a potential trigger for wider tension. In the region.

Stoltenberg said he was wary of speculating whether Russia’s threats were aimed at disrupting the NATO summit or just a coincidence, but the clanking of sabers “reminds us of something that we are very aware of.”

“Whether it happens just before, just after or long after a NATO summit, it doesn’t change reality,” he said. “We have to be prepared.”

NATO’s current defense posture in the Baltics involves around 8,000 foreign troops – led by the UK, Canada and Germany – to deter any potential invasion and act as a so-called trigger in the event of an attack. ‘invasion. NATO officials agree the approach is now untenable given the scale of Putin’s attack on Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas’ comments about her country’s defense “reflect her concerns”, adding that he had discussed “exactly these issues” with her and the Lithuanian and Latvian leaders.

“They have been under Soviet rule for decades. They have a history where they actually learned the hard way what it means to be busy and overrun,” Stoltenberg said. “I accept [Kallas] wants more NATO presence and I can promise him. . . more presence.

Stoltenberg continued: “Our main responsibility is to prevent any attack on Estonia or any other ally.

“That’s why we will take huge and important decisions at the summit to further increase our collective defense . . . defend every square inch of NATO territory as we have done for 72 years.

A realistic framing of advances in artificial intelligence Sat, 25 Jun 2022 08:21:00 +0000

Imaginima/E+ via Getty Images

By Christopher Gannatti, CFA

Let’s face it, we love exciting announcements. Why talk about the small technical improvements of a artificial intelligence (AI) system when you can predict the coming advent of artificial general intelligence (AGI)? However, focusing too much on AGI risks missing out on many incremental improvements in the space along the way. It’s a lot like how focusing only on when cars can literally drive themselves runs the risk of missing out on all the incremental assisted driving features being added to cars all the time.

DeepMind in the foreground… AGAIN

The cover of Alpha Go, DeepMindit is1 system that was able to surpass the performance of professional Go player Lee Sedol, was a game-changer. Now there is AlphaZero, Alpha folding and more. DeepMind has made incredible progress showing how AI can be applied to real problems. AlphaFold, for example, predicts how given proteins will fold and, by knowing precisely the shape of given proteins with precision, unlocks enormous potential in the way we think about all kinds of medical treatments.

The Covid-19 vaccine using mRNA was based largely on targeting the specific ‘spike protein’ shape. The overall problem of protein folding was something humans had been focusing on for over 50 years.2

However, DeepMind recently introduced a new “general purpose” AI model called Gato. Think of it this way – AlphaGo is specifically focused on playing Go and AlphaFold is specifically focused on protein folding – these are not general purpose AI apps. On the other hand, Gato can3:

  • Play Atari video games
  • Caption Images
  • Discuss
  • Stack blocks with a real robot arm

In total, Gato can perform 604 tasks. This is very different from more specialized AI applications which are trained with specific data to optimize a task.

So, AGI is now on the horizon?

To be clear, the full AGI is a significant leap from anything done to date. It’s possible that with an increase in scale, the path Gato used could lead to something closer to AGI than anything that has been done to date. Likewise, scaling up alone may not get you anywhere. The AGI may require breakthroughs that are not yet determined.

People love to get excited about AI and its potential. In recent years, the development of GPT-3 by Open AI4 was great, as was the image generator SLAB. Both of these accomplishments were enormous, but neither led to a technology exhibiting human-level understanding, and it is unclear whether the approaches used in either will naturally lead to AGI in the future.

If we can’t say when AGI will come, what can we say?

While massive breakthroughs like AGI can be difficult, if not impossible, to predict with certainty, the focus on AI as a whole has grown incredibly. The recently released Stanford AI Index report is extremely helpful, in that we can see:

  1. The scale of investment poured into the space. Investment, in a sense, partly measures confidence, in that there must be a reasonable belief that productive activity will result from the efforts being funded.
  2. The scope of AI activities and how the activities universally display improvement metrics.

The growth of investment in AI

Looking at Figure 1, the progression of investment growth has been staggering. We recognize that this is partly driven by the excitement and potential of AI itself, as well as the general environment. The fact that 2020 and 2021 presented such large figures must be influenced by the fact that capital cost was minimal and the money was chasing exciting stories with potential profits release in the future. Based on what we know today, it would be difficult to predict that the 2022 figure would exceed the 2021 figure, but it could still be an absolute strong sum of money.

It is also interesting to consider the evolution of the components of the investment:

  • 2014 was defined by public offerwhich in other years was generally on the lower end of the spectrum compared to the totals.
  • The main driver of the steady growth in investment was on the private side, so it seems clear that Figure 1 illustrates the cyclical recovery in private investment, which we recognize will not necessarily continue a linear upward trend. throughout the 2020s.

Figure 1: Global business investment in AI by INVESTMENT ACTIVITY, 2013–21

AI - Global Business Investment

What activities are funded by the money?

Aggregate investment amounts are one thing, but it’s more concrete to look at specific business areas. Figure 2 is helpful in this regard, as it gives an idea of ​​the change in 2021 compared to 2020.

  • In 2021, “Data Management, Processing, Cloud”, “Fintech” and “Medical and Healthcare” led the way, each exceeding $10 billion.
  • It should be noted that in the 2020 data (purple), “Medicine and healthcare” was in the lead with approximately $8 billion. This highlights the relative year-over-year increase for “data management, processing, cloud” and “fintech.”

Figure 2: Private investment in AI by focus area, 2020 vs. 2021

Price investment in AI

Is the AI ​​technically improving?

This is a fascinating question, the answer to which can have almost infinite depth and can be covered in any number of academic papers to come. What can be noted here is the fact that these are two separate efforts:

  1. Design, program or otherwise create the specific AI implementation.
  2. Determine the best ways to test if it is actually doing what it is supposed to or if it is improving over time.

I find “semantic segmentation” particularly interesting. It sounds like something only an academic would ever say, but it references the concept of seeing a person riding a bicycle in a photo. You want the AI ​​to know which pixels are the person and which pixels are the bike.

If you think – who cares if a sophisticated AI can discern the person on the bike in such an image? – I grant you that it may not have the highest application value. However, imagine an internal organ shown on a medical imaging device – now consider the importance of distinguishing healthy tissue from a tumor or lesion. Can you see the value this could bring?

The Stanford AI Index report actually breaks down specific tests designed to measure the progress of AI models in areas such as:

  • computer vision
  • Language
  • Word
  • Recommendations
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Hardware training time
  • Robotics

Many of these fields approach what one might define as the “human standard”, but it is also important to note that most of them only specialize in the specific task for which they were designed. .

Conclusion: it is still early days for AI

With some megatrends, it’s important to have the humility to recognize that we don’t know for sure what’s going to happen next. Within AI, we can predict certain innovations, whether in vision, autonomous vehicles or drones, but we must recognize that the biggest returns may come from activities that we do not yet track. For those interested in an investment vehicle designed to expose themselves to AI, consider the WisdomTree Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Fund (WTAI).

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we discuss recent results from some companies operating in the space.

1 DeepMind is a subsidiary of Alphabet. As of June 23, 2022, Alphabet weighed 1.46% in the WTAI.

2 Source: Sky, Will Douglass. “DeepMind’s Protein Folding AI Has Solved a Grand 50-Year-Old Biology Challenge,” MIT Technology Review, 11/30/20.

3 Source: Melissa Heikkila, “Hype Around New DeepMind AI Models Missing What’s Really Cool”, MIT Technology Review, 5/23/22.

4 OpenAI holds a 0% stake in the WisdomTree Artificial Intelligence and Innovation Fund (WTAI).

Important risks related to this article

Christopher Gannatti is an employee of WisdomTree UK Limited, a European subsidiary of WisdomTree Asset Management Inc.’s parent company, WisdomTree Investments, Inc.

There are risks associated with investing, including possible loss of capital. The Fund invests in companies primarily involved in the investment theme of artificial intelligence (AI) and innovation. Companies engaged in AI typically face intense competition and potentially rapid product obsolescence. These companies are also heavily dependent on intellectual property rights and may be harmed by the loss or degradation of these rights. Additionally, AI companies typically invest large sums in research and development, and there is no guarantee that the products or services produced by these companies will be successful. Companies that capitalize on innovation and develop technologies to replace older technologies or create new markets may not succeed. The Fund invests in securities included in or representative of its index, regardless of their investment merit and the Fund does not attempt to outperform its index or take defensive positions in falling markets. The composition of the Index is governed by an Index Committee and the Index may not perform as intended. Please read the Fund’s prospectus for specific details regarding the Fund’s risk profile.

Christopher Gannatti, CFA, Global Head of Research

Christopher Gannatti, CFA, Global Head of Research

Christopher Gannatti started at WisdomTree as a Research Analyst in December 2010, working directly with Jeremy Schwartz, CFA®, Director of Research. In January 2014, he was promoted to Associate Director of Research where he was responsible for leading various groups of analysts and strategists within WisdomTree’s broader research team. In February 2018, Christopher was promoted to Head of Research for Europe, where he will be based in WisdomTree’s London office and will be responsible for all of WisdomTree’s research efforts in the European market, as well as supporting the UCIT platform on a global scale. Christopher came to WisdomTree from Lord Abbett, where he worked for four and a half years as a regional consultant. He received his MBA in Quantitative Finance, Accounting and Economics from NYU’s Stern School of Business in 2010, and he received his BS in Economics from Colgate University in 2006. Christopher holds a Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Original post

Editor’s note: The summary bullet points for this article were chosen by the Seeking Alpha editors.

What is the ideal gas law? Sun, 19 Jun 2022 11:00:00 +0000

It may seem like a lot of volume, but it’s not. It’s almost half a liter, so it’s half a bottle of soda.

moles and particles

These moles aren’t the furry creatures that dig holes in the ground. The name comes from molecules (which is apparently too long to write).

Here is an example to help you understand the idea of ​​a mole. Suppose you pass an electric current through water. A water molecule is made up of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. (It’s H.2O.) This electric current breaks the water molecule and you get hydrogen gas (H2) and gaseous oxygen (O2).

It’s actually a pretty simple experiment. Check it here:

Since water has twice as many hydrogen atoms as oxygen, you get twice as many hydrogen molecules. We can see this if we collect the gases from this water: we know the ratio of the molecules, but we don’t know the number. That’s why we use moles. It’s basically just a way of counting the uncountable.

Don’t worry, there is indeed a way to find the number of particles in a mole, but you need Avogadro’s number for that. If you have a liter of air at room temperature and normal pressure (we call this atmospheric pressure), then there will be about 0.04 moles. (That would be n in the ideal gas law.) Using Avogadro’s number, we get 2.4 x 1022 particles. You can’t count that high. Nobody can. But that’s N, the number of particles, in the other version of the ideal gas law.


Just a quick note: you almost always need some sort of constant for an equation with variables representing different things. Just look at the right side of the ideal gas law, where we have pressure multiplied by volume. The units for this left side would be newton meters, which equals one joule, the unit of energy.

On the right side is the number of moles and the temperature in Kelvin – those two clearly don’t multiply to give units of joules. But you to have to have the same units on both sides of the equation, otherwise it would be like comparing apples and oranges. This is where the constant R comes to the rescue. It has units of joules/(mol × Kelvin) so the mol × Kelvin cancels out and you just get joules. Boom: Both sides now have the same units.

Now let’s look at some examples of the ideal gas law using an ordinary rubber balloon.

To blow a balloon

What happens when you inflate a balloon? You are clearly adding air to the system. As you do this, the balloon gets bigger, so its volume increases.

What about the temperature and pressure inside? Let’s just assume they are constant.

I will include arrows next to the variables that change. An up arrow means increase and a down arrow means decrease.

The tourism sector needs innovation Thu, 16 Jun 2022 21:00:00 +0000

Thailand relies on the tourism sector, especially international tourism – the industry is one of the three main sources of income for the country.

Given the pandemic restrictions imposed since 2020, international tourism has been frozen for more than two years, which has a devastating impact on tourist destinations, businesses and other related sectors.

The effects were distant. Many tour operators and hotels have been forced to close their doors permanently.

Countless companies in the tourism sector have experienced significant cash flow problems. It goes without saying that tourism businesses, such as tour operators, hotels and airlines, have suffered from this “zero tourism” situation.

This pandemic is hitting not only tourism businesses, but also other related sectors. For example, when tour operators received no tour groups, bus and boat drivers had no jobs while restaurants and eateries also received fewer customers.

The negative effect is not only felt by restaurateurs, but employees and street vendors are also affected. Once consumer demand has been reduced, food producers inevitably feel the indirect impact of the travel suspension.

These are just a few examples of the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector and the Thai economy.

Rebuilding tourism is a priority

To survive the pandemic, the focus has been on the domestic market to attract local tourists. What we have witnessed is that in the latter part of 2020, the government has gradually lifted travel bans and encouraged domestic tourist travel by providing various incentives related to a variety of tourism businesses, such as tour operators, hotels, airlines and restaurants.

The strategy of encouraging domestic tourism has been employed by many countries to revive tourism activities within their borders and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on jobs and businesses. Even if this does not generate a significant economic impact, compared to international tourism, this stimulus is vital because a country should no longer remain in a situation of “zero tourism”.

A true economic recovery will only be possible when international tourism returns to pre-Covid levels. We are currently trying to bring international tourists back. This month, more tourists have started to return. The Chinese outbound market was once a crucial market source for Thailand due to the high number of tourist arrivals and expenditures. However, this could be an important opportunity to seek new and diversified markets, as it is difficult to predict when the Chinese government will fully open the Chinese border.

That said, government support is essential to help the tourism ecosystem and local economy survive the pandemic as part of the recovery process for the tourism sector. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development offers key policies to strengthen this recovery, such as restoring traveler confidence, promoting domestic tourism, supporting the safe return of international tourism, strengthening cooperation within and between countries and building a more resilient and sustainable tourism industry. .

Marketing and communication strategies are essential. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is actively working to promote tourism, both domestically and internationally. Destinations and businesses also need to rethink product and service design and marketing communications to properly appeal to target segments. There are many travel trends tourism businesses should consider to better prepare for and adapt to the tourism resurgence.

We still live in an unpredictable era that demands high levels of contingency planning and comprehensive travel insurance. Fully refundable and free date change reservations are favorable. The short-haul travel market is performing better than the long-haul travel market, as flying around the world is more expensive.

Self-guided tourism has also become more popular during the pandemic as it offers more flexibility, mobility and privacy. Finally, quieter destinations are preferred destinations as people try to avoid going to crowded places.

Tourism recovery plan

According to the latest report from the World Bank, economic activity is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year, with continued progress in vaccinations and the resumption of tourist arrivals supporting the recovery.

The number of international tourists is expected to reach nearly 7 million this year, with a sharp increase in the second half of the year, before rising further to around 20 million arrivals next year, only half the level of 2019.

However, we can see a positive signal in this forecast. Over the past two years, people around the world have increasingly used digital technology.

A World Bank study suggests that adopting digital technologies has the potential to support Thailand’s post-pandemic recovery while improving its long-term competitiveness.

E-commerce is a particularly important outlet for small and medium-sized businesses in Thailand, as it reduces transaction costs and enables entrepreneurs to access new markets.

Various technology-related skills, such as information management, user experience design, embedded systems technology, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things, are in high demand, but the supply is insufficient.

Knowledge of digital technology and improved skills are key to increasing the competitiveness of tourism in Thailand. Collaboration between education and tourism companies to design programs and help align training with industry demand can also have a positive impact.

It is important to identify new and emerging digital skills needed to meet labor supply and demand. The education sector is key to the future supply of skills for the tourism sector as well as the contribution of skills that support the transformations of digitalization in the tourism industry in Thailand.

Time warp photos take us back to 1980s Gorbals Towers Wed, 15 Jun 2022 14:23:09 +0000

Few places better exemplify post-war urban renewal in Scotland than the Gorbals, an area that has been repeatedly developed over the past 50 years.

Since the end of World War II, the Gorbals has gone through massive changes that have rendered it unrecognizable.

A new Gorbals emerged in the 1960s which saw much of the area’s Victorian housing stock razed to the ground as part of a major slum clearance programme.

READ MORE: The notoriously spooky Gorbals apartments that locals have dubbed ‘The Dampies’

Dozens of high-rise towers rose skyward as the Gorbals became the poster child for a new normal in 20th-century city life.

But the new dawn that postwar developments promised would never quite materialize.

By the 1980s, many of the sprawling new housing projects that made up this latest iteration of the Gorbals were rapidly turning into concrete slums, with squalor similar to that seen 20 years earlier.

Several hundred post-war homes, the newest of which were barely two decades old, would be demolished in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with many more to follow, with planners forced to admit that they were seriously mistaken.

Subscribe to our Glasgow Live nostalgia newsletters for more local history and heritage content straight to your inbox

In these photos, mostly taken between 1981 and 1987, you can see the already dilapidated developments that made up much of Hutchesontown. Most of these houses have since been demolished or heavily altered and improved.

A University of Edinburgh project called Tower Block United Kingdom, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has collected and preserved images of post-war high-rise dwellings as important parts of our heritage and social history. The images shown here are from their extensive collection.

To learn more, click here.

]]> ArborGen Concludes Strategic Review – Sun, 12 Jun 2022 23:06:12 +0000

ArborGen Holdings Limited (NZX: ARB) (the “Company” or “ArborGen”) today announces that following the strategic review conducted over the past year, ArborGen’s Board of Directors has refocused the activity on its core traditional and fast-growing emerging business. markets in the southern United States and Brazil, as well as new and emerging high-growth carbon markets. In line with this refocused strategy, ArborGen sold its more mature Australia and New Zealand businesses on November 30, 2021 for NZ$22.25 million, significantly strengthening its balance sheet and providing it with greater opportunities to invest in targeted growth areas. Consequently, the Company informs that the strategic review started on June 30, 2021 is now complete.

Top Traditional High Growth Markets – Southern US

Although in the shorter term, the flow effects of the pandemic and geopolitical tensions are likely to impact industry activity, ArborGen’s primary end market, the U.S. real estate market, is supported by very solid long-term underlying fundamentals, namely –

– An underbuilt housing stock in the United States resulting from years of underbuilding since the global financial crisis,

– An aging housing stock in the United States, with the median age of an owner-occupied home now over 40, and

– Strong population demographics with a high proportion of young adults entering the home buying phase.

These strong fundamentals, in turn, support the continued growth in demand for wood products and, in this respect, the southern United States should be the main beneficiary. In addition, problems with wood access and supply have been and will continue to reduce the production of wood products in Western Canada, which has led many of Canada’s major lumber companies to purchase or to build new sawmills in the southern United States. Wood supply problems in Central Europe will also lead to a reduction in the production of wood products in this region. Based on these factors, Forest Economic Advisors predicts that the largest increase in timber production will occur in the southern United States, forecasting a 24% growth over last year’s production to reach 26 .0 BBF* by 2025**.

As the leading commercial provider of proprietary advanced genetics seedlings in the southern United States, ArborGen believes it is well positioned to capitalize on this growth. ArborGen believes it is poised to benefit from more than 20 years of investment in developing best-in-class proprietary MCP products, expanding proprietary genetics offerings and upgrading customers to seedlings. MCP of higher value.

Now that the foundation is laid, ArborGen will focus on continuing to convert customers into higher value seedlings as our customers increasingly see the market potential of our advanced genetic products. In terms of investment opportunities, there is growing demand for the company’s containerized MCP seedlings (our highest value seedlings), and in this regard, the board of directors has approved the capacity expansion in-house ArborGen containerized plants at two existing sites, increasing in-house production 60% from 10 to 16 million containerized plants per year.

ArborGen President David Knott Jr said, “Given the scale of our existing operations, we are able to profitably leverage the infrastructure at our nurseries in Belville, GA and Bullard, TX. , to achieve this growth for less than one million US dollars. The expected benefits of the investment are twofold: cost savings from increased production efficiency and additional margins from the additional volume produced. The expected returns are very compelling, with an expected return on investment of 1-2 years. This expansion should be in place for the FY24 seedling sales year, and we also continue to have a great relationship with our contract container growers. Although ArborGen has sufficient bare root production capacity to capitalize on growth after the trough of the pandemic, the company will continue to evaluate other potential opportunities for expansion in targeted regions. Fortunately, although we are only in the second month of the current year’s harvest season, we have already effectively sold all of our container MCP seedlings and hardwood seedlings, and about 85% of all MCP seedlings. available. »

Traditional High Growth Emerging Markets – Brazil

ArborGen believes that the underlying market fundamentals in Brazil are also very strong, with growing domestic and export demand, new pulp mills and strong charcoal markets resulting from increased demand. of iron ore, now collectively driving strong local demand for eucalyptus and softwoods.

ArborGen has become one of the largest commercial suppliers of eucalyptus and loblolly pine seedlings to the Brazilian market, replicating its US strategy of converting the market to products with superior genetics in Brazil. ArborGen’s continued focus on this emerging market is now beginning to show tangible gains. Consistent with this, and as noted in the company’s FY22 earnings announcement, ArborGen recently acquired an 8-10 million capacity pine nursery located in Canoinhas, Santa Catarina, Brazil for 4 million of BR dollars (0.7 million US dollars), in order to consolidate its position in the local pine markets. Additionally, ArborGen plans to expand its in-house eucalyptus production capacity later this year by leasing its third eucalyptus nursery, which is expected to bring in-house eucalyptus capacity to nearly 50 million plants per year.

Due to much stronger projected prices and demand for ArborGen’s eucalyptus and pine seedlings, ArborGen’s earnings in Brazil are expected to exceed US$1 million this fiscal year (FY23) , significantly higher than the break-even result recorded in FY22, with continued strong growth expected going forward.

Substantial Emerging Global Carbon Markets

There is now clear and growing attention to the importance of reducing greenhouse gases on a global scale, and forests have an important role to play as trees sequester carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and store it in the trunks, branches, foliage and roots.

The growing focus on the role trees can play in offsetting carbon emissions is creating significant new opportunities for ArborGen, with its advanced genetics and strong channels to forest owners in the southern United States, making it uniquely positioned to exploit this opportunity.

ArborGen is a key player in this space and is actively engaged with various carbon registries and major carbon companies, participating in the development of protocols for plantation forestry.

ArborGen CEO Andrew Baum said, “Forest-based carbon projects will play an increasingly important role in creating new demand for pine and hardwood seedlings. Carbon project developers are actively pursuing large-scale afforestation and reforestation projects in the southern United States and ArborGen is actively engaged with several of these companies to supply both genetically advanced pine seedlings and pine seedlings. hardwoods. We plan to supply seedlings in the first year of a multi-year agreement with at least one major carbon company this year. »

Mr. Knott said, “We are very excited about the future of ArborGen. We have refined the business, sold the New Zealand and Australian businesses, significantly strengthened ArborGen’s balance sheet and are now well positioned to grow in our core and emerging markets. To ensure that we realize the Company’s growth potential in these areas, the Board is committed to increasing resources as needed. As part of our strategic review, the board considered all options to unlock value for the benefit of all shareholders, including exploring the potential sale of all shares of the company, but concluded that the unanimously that the best strategy for maximizing shareholder value is to stay the course. We would like to thank all of our shareholders for their continued support, which is greatly appreciated. »

Scope of strategic review

Over the past 11 months, the Board of Directors has considered all options to unlock value for the benefit of all shareholders, from reinvestment to sale. PwC has assessed the interest of a potential sale of all the shares or all or part of the assets of the Company. This process resulted in the sale of the aforementioned Australian and New Zealand businesses. Although a number of expressions of interest were considered for the company as a whole, the board concluded that value would be maximized for shareholders through reinvestment in the company and the growth of the strategy as indicated above.

As part of the strategic review process, ArborGen’s Board of Directors also considered the possibility of a US listing. They concluded that currently the expected costs of listing in the United States outweigh the potential benefits.


* Billion board feet

**Forest Economic Advisors Quarterly Timber Forecast Q2 2022


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What are the fastest ways to level up in Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 3? Sat, 11 Jun 2022 13:42:16 +0000

Anyone who has purchased a Fortnite Battle Pass before will want to level up as fast as possible. It’s natural to want to reach the top and redeem all the skins and cosmetics the Battle Pass has to offer. Although there is an option for players to skip the grind for the first twenty-five levels, this comes at a steep price.

Epic offers a bundle with the battle pass that allows players to gain twenty-five additional levels (from their current level). If players want to scale a single tier, they can do so for 150 V-bucks. However, not everyone wants to buy their ranks. Although it is always an option, most players prefer to go through the game to reach their desired level.

Fortnite updates XP so we can all get everything in the battle pass 🤩

Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 3 Battle Pass has the coveted Darth Vader skin at the highest level, and anyone with a battle pass wants to acquire it as soon as possible. With the season just getting started, daily and weekly challenges are limited, and most players have already mined whatever XP they could through the challenges.

Tips to level up fast in Fortnite Chapter 3 Season 3

The game developers recently nerfed the amount of XP for different challenges. This got the Fortnite community up in arms, as players are used to getting better returns for their grind. Despite this fact, players are still trying hard and trying to level up.

youtube cover

The quintessential trick to leveling up in Fortnite is to grind. Players should focus on completing their daily, weekly, and other challenges for at least a few matches each day. To progress quickly, players must avoid engaging in battle royale and prioritize challenges instead. Once the challenges are complete, players can focus on securing a victory. Another way is for players to team up. When completing challenges as a team, players can get XP through assists from other players.

The second trick to level up quickly is to play “Agent vs Imposters”. A game inside Fortnite, it offers different tasks that can be done by the Imposters. Players are generously rewarded for the tasks they complete and can continue playing the match for as long as they wish. XP will only increase.

The third trick is to play games in creative mode. Fortnite Creative has a slew of community-made games that can help players collect extra XP. One trick is to play matches as a team, so players can spawn instantly and not waste time slipping. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the books. Players should note that Epic has overhauled its XP system and no longer rewards XP to players who are AFK (away from the keyboard).

youtube cover

The last trick in the book is to exploit glitches. It may seem like an ethical conundrum, but it can be used to exponentially increase XP gains. Since the game is still in development, it’s only natural for issues to arise.

Some players are very opportunistic and are constantly on the lookout for bugs they can exploit to gain XP. Websites like Reddit and YouTube are full of information about glitches in the game. Players should keep in mind that the Fortnite developers are constantly working to remove these glitches, so they can only be exploited for a while. short period.

Edited by Siddharth Satish

Putin asks Ukraine to weaken its defenses to solve the global food crisis Tue, 07 Jun 2022 16:27:38 +0000


We start the day with more gloomy data on how the cost of living crisis is affecting households.

Retail sales fell 1.1% in May, according to the British Retail Consortium, as soaring energy and food bills left Britons with less disposable income.

ONS figures showed households had saved an average of almost £7,000 after the Covid hit, but those who could save money are no longer willing to spend it.

In a further sign of the squeeze on wallets, data from Barclaycard showed spending on utilities jumped by more than a third, with grocery and transport costs also rising.

5 things to start your day

1) ‘National fuel crisis’ as electric car ownership rises It now costs almost £98 to fill a tank of petrol and nearly £102 to fill a tank of diesel, with crude prices continuing to climb as Russia attacks Ukraine and triggers contingency planning in fuel shortage in Ireland.

2) Pound climbs as Boris Johnson suffers major rebellion The value of the pound rose as markets bet that last night’s substantial rebellion against Boris Johnson could end up watering down UK policy on Brexit in Northern Ireland, easing fears of a trade war by the EU.

3) Chinese chip company boss charged with espionage, stealing trade secrets ASML, the Dutch company whose equipment is used to make advanced semiconductor circuits, said Zongchang Yu, a former employee, transferred trade secrets to Dongfang Jingyuan Electron.

4) Households rack up £7,000 in Covid savings as prices soar Families have saved nearly £7,000 since Covid hit, mainly due to lockdowns when they were unable to spend money on pubs, restaurants, ‘non-essential’ shops, travel and vacations.

5) BlackRock Won’t Be ‘Environmental Police’ in Ethical Investing U-turn Larry Fink, head of the world’s largest fund manager, said it was wrong to ask the private sector to make sure the companies they invest in are doing their part to fight climate change.

What happened overnight

Hong Kong shares opened slightly lower this morning after a strong rise the previous day. The Hang Seng index slipped 0.4pc.

The Shanghai Composite Index was flat, while the Shenzhen Composite Index on China’s second-largest stock exchange also barely moved.

Tokyo shares opened higher as the yen fell. The benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.2pc.

coming today

  • Company : No scheduled updates
  • Economy: Retail, PMI Services (UK); Factory orders (Germany); Consumer credit (WE)
Superannuation industry ready to support federal government’s green energy plans Sun, 05 Jun 2022 23:01:10 +0000

The pension industry is ready with billions of dollars in “patient capital” to support the federal government’s green energy plans, according to Wayne Swan, chairman of the $65 billion construction industry super fund, Bus.

In an interview with Investment MagazineALP chairman and former federal treasurer, said the sector could also consider investing in areas such as critical minerals if policies were appropriate.

“When you look at the scale of the transition that we are going to have to make from fossil fuels to renewables in the electricity sector, and more generally, the super is going to play a big role in investment in these areas”, did he declare.

He said many pension funds are already green energy investors.

“But if we get much clearer market signals from the government and we can get new structures, the super funds will be active participants,” he said.

“Many of us are already active in particular projects, but if it became more systematic and there was more of a government framework, then we would be interested.”

As federal treasurer to the previous Labor government, Swan established the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) in 2013, appointing Sydney businesswoman Jillian Broadbent as its first chairperson to help fund clean energy projects. The company survived and thrived despite the new Abbott government’s election promise to abolish it.

Swan said critical minerals was another area the pension industry could support.

“Australia has the ability to be an energy superpower, which provides the opportunity for cheaper energy for industry,” he said.

“Given that we also have one of the largest reserves of critical minerals in the world, it would make sense for the country to get more involved in processing critical minerals.”

“You see federal and state initiatives to ensure the continued processing of critical minerals in various parts of the country.

“Somewhere in that pipeline there may well be a role (for some form of investment by super funds) if it is in the interest of our members.”

Net zero by 2050 with earlier targets also set

Like many other super funds, Cbus has its own carbon reduction targets in its investment portfolio, with most committing to the Paris Agreement target of reaching net zero by 2050.

Cbus aims to be net zero by 2050, including a 45% reduction in absolute emissions from its portfolio by 2030 and to achieve net zero for its entire real estate portfolio by 2030.

Swan, whose 1995 budget as federal treasurer announced initiatives to strengthen the role of retirement pensions, including supporting the insertion of employee contributions into all industry awards, said the pension system of pension had played a vital role in supporting the Australian economy in times of crisis, including the global financial crisis and the Covid pandemic.

“Now it can do so much more in the best interest of its members and in the best interest of the nation, helping the country make the next big transition which is the transition to clean energy.”

Swan said the recent Labor government election would give the pensions industry “breathing time” to “lock in the fundamentals of the system” – without having to worry about potential government action to undermine it.

He said former Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s last-minute campaign decision to allow first-time home buyers to take up to $50,000 from their superannuation to buy a home was another his government’s attempt to “dismantle” the old-age pension system by undermining the essential element. conservation.

“I hope we can continue the work of strengthening the foundations of what is a very good system – free from the constant government attacks that have characterized the last nine years of super industry,” he said. he declares.

“We now have some breathing room to be at our best and focus like a laser on member interests and member feedback, free from all propaganda and politically inspired attacks on the system.”

Low-income people are the most affected by the changes

Swan said the people who had suffered the most from the “undermining” of the pension system by measures such as the former federal government’s early access programs during Covid, were those with the lowest incomes, like the members of Cbus.

“We are the fund where people will typically have lower balances when they retire because our members have less secure employment and therefore, on average, lower balances over time.”

“They are the ones who are crushed by these proposals for early withdrawals. Small as they are, they have a dramatic long-term impact on their retirement income. »

Swan said the federal parliament should pass legislation to define the purpose of the national pension system, which would ensure that its aim was to improve outcomes for members.

He said the superannuation was not the answer to all the community’s financial problems, but aimed to help people save for a decent retirement.

There should be a “mature national discussion” around the goal of retirement “without the threat of dismantling key parts of the industry”, he said.

He also backed calls for a “refinement” of the annual Your Future, Your Super performance tests for superfunds which came into effect last year.

Under the system, funds that fall below their performance criteria, taken over an eight-year period, twice in a row, can be barred from receiving further member contributions.

The system has been criticized for having benchmarks that are backward-looking and deter funds from making long-term investments in areas such as clean energy that may take time to pay off.

Need for mature discussion on performance test

“We need to have a mature discussion about the performance test,” he said.

“I have no fundamental objection to measuring fund performance in the interest of transparency, but there are perverse effects of the current performance test – which have the potential to punish funds that make long-term investments. in the best financial interest of their members – which needs to be refined.

“We don’t oppose competition or comparison, but we just have to take the right steps.”

Mr Swan said the success of the mandatory pension system had exceeded the expectations of its founders, who included leaders of the Labor Party and trade unions.

In his 1995 budget speech as treasurer, Swan estimated that the retirement system could have assets of about $2 trillion by 2020. The system currently has some $3.4 trillion in assets. assets.

“As early as 1995, I knew superannuation and Medicare were going to be two of the great national institutions,” Swan said.

“But even I didn’t think when it started that it would turn out to be this spectacular success and such a driving force in our economy.”

Swan said one of the next big challenges for the super system is managing the transition to the retirement phase as baby boomers stop working.

The super fund industry is also planning the introduction of the Retirement Income Convention on July 1, which requires funds to define their strategy to help their members navigate their transition to retirement.

Swan said the system was now in the “disaccumulation phase,” where increasing numbers of members were retiring and dipping into their savings.

“As the Callaghan committee recommended, this retreat area is now a much larger area for funds to focus on.”

Swan said Cbus is working on plans for its strategy.

He said he expected super fund strategies around retirement to include more retirement advice as well as new products specific to retirees, but he didn’t want to preempt his fund’s announcements.

“We have some exciting announcements to make in the near future regarding support for members in their retirement, but I am unable to say much more at this time.”

Final Fantasy 16 returns with a new trailer and a 2023 release date Thu, 02 Jun 2022 22:32:19 +0000

A new trailer for Final Fantasy 16 showed off more gameplay from the upcoming RPG and confirmed a summer 2023 release window.

Revealed as part of Sony’s State of Play, the trailer started with characters talking about an impending war, before showing some fighting.

The game also appears to feature large-scale battles, with massive summons battling above the city.

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Producer Naoki Yoshida wrote, “In previous interviews and updates, we haven’t delved into the details of the game system, but I hope with this preview, you all were able to get a better idea of ​​what’s going on. that the actual gameplay will involve…

“Namely, high-octane battles featuring our protagonist Clive Rosfield wielding a full arsenal of attacks unique to the many Eikons (summons) in the game. Not to mention the epic clashes between the Eikons themselves that put you At the heart of the action.

He added, “The team, under the leadership of Hiroshi Takai, has entered the final stage of development and is focused on polishing as it continues its march towards mastery and launch. For my part, I want to personally thank them for all the hard work they put into the project.

“With the power of the PlayStation 5 behind us, we seek to take you on a seamless, story-driven ride that will rival the most thrilling roller coasters. So hang on, the wait is almost over!

Final Fantasy XVI producer Yoshida recently claimed that the game is nearing the end of development. This is after he said last December that the development of Final Fantasy XVI was almost six months behind schedule.

With staff forced to work from home, he said the Covid-19 pandemic had led to unexpected production issues. “This unfortunately hampered communication from the Tokyo office, which in turn led to delays or, in extreme cases, cancellations of asset deliveries from our external partners,” he said. .

“That said, we have spent much of 2021 resolving this issue and hope to see its impact at a minimum by the new year, allowing us to better focus on the tasks at hand: increasing the quality of graphics assets , refining combat mechanics, fleshing out individual battles, putting the finishing touches on cutscenes, and performing overall graphical optimization.

“Our main goal now is to be as active as possible with the game in order to see it fully polished.”