A new glut of oil and gas is emerging, floating at sea, as the coronavirus epidemic cuts China’s appetite for fuel and hampers work at Chinese ports. Dozens of ships are acting as floating storage vats for oil and liquefied natural gas because the owners of the fuel are unable to find buyers or places to store their cargo on land, according to The Wall Street Journal (March 4, 2020). Some 79 vessels are now storing crude oil at sea.
The walls of Redefine Meat Ltd.’s lab in Rehovot, Israel, are plastered with posters of cuts of beef, including sirloins, T-bones, and rib-eyes. But the startup isn’t looking to sell the perfect cut of beef. Instead, it wants to create a plant-based facsimile. The company is building a 3D printer that it says will produce a meatless steak that’s so fatty, juicy, and perfectly meaty that even the most dedicated carnivore won’t know the difference. “All meat alternatives today are basically a meat-homogeneous mass,” says Redefine Meat’s CEO. “If you 3D-print it, you can control what’s happening inside the mass to improve the texture and to improve the flavor.”
What’s a cruise company to do when it needs a bigger ship? Apparently, just saw it in half and add an extra 49 feet. Silversea Cruises began the lengthening process of its Silver Spirit ship this month as part of a $100 million renovation, USA Today reports (March 20, 2018).
The transformation is currently underway at Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy. This type of lengthening has never before been employed for the extension of a luxury cruise ship. An extension is much cheaper than ordering a brand new ship, which can cost upwards of $1 billion.
By Barry Render
In a production hall as clean as a hospital, pea-size beads of white plastic pour into what looks like a minivan-size Adidas shoe box, complete with 3 white stripes down the side. That’s fitting, because in just a few seconds the machine heats and molds the stuff into soles of Adidas running shoes, with only one worker needed to wedge in pieces of plastic called stability bars. This is Adidas AG’s “Speedfactory,” where the shoemaker aims to prove it can profitably produce footwear in high-cost, developed economies, reports Businessweek (Oct. 9, 2017). Continue reading
For years, American companies have been saving money by “offshoring” jobs — hiring people in India and other distant cubicle farms. “Today,” writes The New York Times (July 31, 2017), “some of those jobs are being outsourced again — in the U.S.” Salaries have risen in places like South Asia, making outsourcing there less of a bargain. (A decade ago an American software developer cost 5-7 times as much as an Indian developer. Now the gap has shrunk to 2 times). In addition, as brands pour energy and money into their websites and mobile apps, more of them are deciding that there is value in having developers on the same continent. Continue reading
August 6, 2015
Twenty-five years ago, Ni Meijuan earned $19 a month working the spinning machines at a vast textile factory in China. Now at the Keer Group’s cotton mill in South Carolina, Ni is training American workers to do the job she used to do. “They’re quick learners,” she said. “But they have to learn to be quicker.”
Once the epitome of cheap mass manufacturing, textile producers from formerly low-cost nations are starting to set up shop in America, reports The New York Times (Aug. 3, 2015). It is part of a blurring between high- and low-cost manufacturing nations that few would have predicted a decade ago. Textile production in China is becoming increasingly unprofitable after years of rising wages, higher energy bills, and mounting logistical costs.
July 22, 2015