No Country for Old Men

What an economic drag it is getting old, Draining Arizona

Age ain’t nothing but a number. But the same can be said about national GDP, employment rates, retirement accounts, social security payments, and world economy rankings. And the age number affects all the other numbers. One of the reasons that world powers are world powers is because they have large working age populations. As those populations age, it means fewer workers and more elderly populations to support. NYT (Gift Article): How a Vast Demographic Shift Will Reshape the World. “The projections are reliable, and stark: By 2050, people age 65 and older will make up nearly 40 percent of the population in some parts of East Asia and Europe. That’s almost twice the share of older adults in Florida, America’s retirement capital. Extraordinary numbers of retirees will be dependent on a shrinking number of working-age people to support them. In all of recorded history, no country has ever been as old as these nations are expected to get.” What an economic drag it is getting old.


Been to the Desert on a Course with No Shame

In Saudi Arabia, industrial-scale farming of forage crops such as alfalfa is banned because water is considered such a valuable resource. So where does a Saudi company called Fondomonte go to get water and grow such crops? Arizona. Yes, an increasingly hot and dry Arizona where water should also be considered a valuable resource. “The company is hardly alone in using state-owned land to irrigate crops: Fondomonte holds four of the roughly 20 state agricultural leases across Arizona’s three major transport basins, where state law allows transfer of water to cities. But its foreign ownership and strict limits on water use in its home country have fueled outrage here.” WaPo (Gift Article): How a Saudi firm tapped a gusher of water in drought-stricken Arizona.


The Gangs All Here

It doesn’t get all that much coverage these days, but Haiti, which has seen its share of socio-political crises over the years could be experiencing its worst. The country has been taken over by gangs. John Lee Anderson in The New Yorker: Haiti Held Hostage. “In a nation of twelve million people, there have been at least a dozen massacres by gangs fighting over turf, killing more than a thousand Haitians last year alone. Women are routinely raped and men murdered; many of the victims are burned alive in their homes. Since the beginning of the year, according to a U.N. report, another thousand people have been kidnapped, and at least two thousand killed, including thirty-four police officers. Last fall, a gangster known as Barbecue took over the city’s main fuel port for nearly two months, causing devastating shortages of gas, food, and water, with half of Haiti’s population afflicted by acute hunger.”


The King Slayer

“Less than six weeks ago, Carlos Alcaraz faced Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the French Open, in what was their first grand slam meeting. Alcaraz could not handle the occasion and after two competitive sets, the Spaniard’s nerves and the tension of playing Djokovic at a grand slam were too much for him. In a sport like tennis, where the spotlight is focussed so intensely on the individual, leaving no hiding place for any weakness or vulnerability, it was jarring to see Alcaraz show the first sign of what might have been his. Such moments can hang over players for years.” Then the Wimbledon rematch began with Djokovic winning the first set 6-1 and it really looked like we were headed for another crushing Djokovic win, and another Wimbledon with one of the big four as the last man standing. But Alcaraz evened the match. Like, really evened it. At one point, late in the fifth set, each player had won 166 points. Alcaraz needed everything to beat Djokovic and slay the king. Meet back here in 15 years to see who slays him. Novak Djokovic has created a unique rival – is Wimbledon defeat the beginning of the end? (Did I mention Djokovic had won 45 straight matches on Centre Court that Alcaraz was playing in only his fourth tournament on grass?)

+ Novak (who couldn’t have been more gracious in defeat): “People have been talking in the past 12 months or so about his game consisting of certain elements from Roger, Rafa and myself. I would agree with that. I think he’s got basically (the) best of all three worlds.” Carlos Alcaraz’s Wimbledon title shows he is exactly who everyone thought he was.

+ Bottom line: There’s a new King of Lego Hair. (All this being said, I wouldn’t bet against Djokovic in the US Open.)


Extra, Extra

Grain Free: “Russia has withdrawn from the Black Sea grain deal, a crucial agreement brokered by the U.N. and Turkey that allowed the safe export of grain from Ukraine following the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of the country last year.” That is especially bad news for poorer countries, but it will impact the world. For now, the news can be taken with a grain of salt as Russia has pulled out of this deal before.

+ Alzheimer’s Breakthrough: “Experts caution that donanemab is no cure, and that its benefit amounts to only about a seven-month delay in the loss of memory and thinking.” But it’s still a huge breakthrough, all things considered. An experimental Alzheimer’s drug outperforms one just approved by the FDA.

+ Criminal’s Justice: “Donald Trump and his allies are planning a sweeping expansion of presidential power over the machinery of government if voters return him to the White House in 2025, reshaping the structure of the executive branch to concentrate far greater authority directly in his hands.” Given his status as the runaway GOP frontrunner, this is something to worry about, bigly.

+ The Last Domino: “By joining forces with Uber, the company is acknowledging how dominant delivery apps such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Grubhub have become—using them is approaching a necessary requirement for restaurants to stay afloat. If Domino’s can’t stay off the delivery apps, can anyone?” The Atlantic: Delivery Apps Just Did the Impossible.

+ Taylor’s Version of Reality: Taylor Swift becomes first woman to have 4 albums on Billboard’s Top 10 at once.

+ The Talented Mr Curry: If you’re the type of person who gets irritated by people who are good at everything, don’t read that Steph Curry won the American Century Golf Championship with eagle on 18. And definitely don’t watch the hole-in-one he made during the tournament. (We knew he was good at shooting 3s, but apparently that includes par 3s.)

+ Common Thread: It’s a pretty good time to have an(other) app called Threads.


Bottom of the News

“Many of the emails include medical records, identity document information, lists of staff at military bases, photos of military bases, naval inspection reports, ship crew lists, tax records, and more.” Millions of sensitive US military emails were reportedly sent to Mali due to a typo.

+ When bears get really good at breaking into human stashes of food, two things can happen. They can get euthanized. Or they can get a job. Welcome to the center where you can get a product certified as bear-resistant… by actual bears.

+ Dog owners in the southern French town of Béziers are to be required to carry their pet’s ‘genetic passport’ in a trial scheme to reduce dog excrement on the streets.

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