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Outdoor Updates: Robert Downey Jr. has a plan to clean up the planet

first_imgRobert Downey Jr. has a plan to clean up the planet Robert Downey Jr. is launching a new venture named the Footprint Coalition, which will launch in April 2020. The company plans to use robotics and artificial intelligence to clean up the planet. He announced his plans during his keynote at Amazon’s Re:Mars conference. Downey said that, “between robotics and nanotechnology, we could clean up the planet significantly, if not totally, in 10 years.” Though the actor did not go into detail about what his planet-cleaning plan entails, he has since launched a website where those interested in receiving updates can provide an email address. The US Forest Service warns that 1 billion acres are at risk for catastrophic wildfires Massive swarm of ladybugs shows up on the National Weather Services’ radar The chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Vicki Christiansen, is warning the public that a billion acres of public and private land across the country are at risk for catastrophic wildfires like the Camp Fire that struck Paradise, California last November. Christiansen said that a mix of wildfire suppression, rampant housing development in at-risk areas and climate change have all contributed to the risk. She also told NPR that “fire season is not an appropriate term anymore,” because the risk of fire is now year-round. center_img The forest service estimates that they may spend $2.5 billion fighting fires in 2019. The agency’s current budget for wildfire fighting is $1.7 billion. The National Weather Service picked up a massive blob on their radar that turned out to be a gigantic swarm of ladybugs over Southern California. The cloud of bugs stretched 80 square miles as it flew over San Diego last Tuesday. The ladybug swarm flew between 5,000 and 9,000 feet in the air on its way to Mexico. It is estimated that millions or even trillions of ladybugs were involved in the massive migration. Although scientists are not sure exactly which species of ladybugs made up the cloud of insects they hypothesize that it is likely the “convergent ladybird,” scientific name Hippodamia convergens. Scientists also point out that the bug swarm is good news for gardeners and farmers as the ladybug eats aphids and other pests that damage plants.last_img read more

Fed revisits idea of pledging to keep interest rates low

first_imgThe US dollar slightly extended losses against the yen and euro while the S&P 500 index edged higher after the release of the minutes.Outlook uncertainThe Fed has repeatedly said the US economic outlook remains highly uncertain and reiterated that a full economic recovery hinges on the battle to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has killed more than 127,000 people in the United States.Since the meeting, a surge in US infections has led several policymakers to warn that signs of a nascent economic recovery over the last few weeks could already be under threat as hard-hit states halt or reverse the re-opening of their economies.The US economy slipped into recession in February and economic output and employment are still far below pre-crisis levels despite a rebound as restrictions were eased. More than 30 million people were receiving unemployment checks in the first week of June, about a fifth of the labor force.At last month’s policy meeting, the Fed signaled it planned years of extraordinary support for the economy, with policymakers projecting the economy to shrink 6.5 percent in 2020 and the unemployment rate to be 9.3 percent at the end of the year.In addition to slashing interest rates, the central bank has also pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to keep credit flowing to businesses and households.Americans’ anxieties over the spread of the coronavirus are at the highest level in more than a month, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Wednesday, a day after the United States recorded the biggest single-day rise in new cases since the pandemic began. Federal Reserve policymakers are looking at reviving a Great Recession-era promise to keep interest rates low until certain conditions are met, in a bid to deliver a more rapid recovery from the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.The policymakers “generally indicated support” for tying rate-setting policy to specific economic outcomes, minutes from the US central bank’s June 9-10 policy meeting showed on Wednesday. “A number” favored a promise to leave rates low until inflation meets or even modestly exceeds the Fed’s 2 percent goal.A couple of policymakers preferred tying changes to rates to a specific unemployment rate; a “few others” wanted to promise easy monetary policy until a specific date in the future – an approach the Fed used effectively in 2012 and 2013. Topics :center_img Although two warned of the danger of adopting any such policy, citing financial stability risks, the minutes showed that policymakers overall supported giving the public more explicit forward guidance, both for rates and bond purchases, “as more information about the trajectory of the economy becomes available.”The readout showed much less support, and many questions, about alternate forms of support including control of the yield curve, a strategy in use by other central banks around the world.Fed officials anticipate the United States will suffer the worst economic downturn since World War Two, and they have no intent to let up on providing stimulus for the foreseeable future.“Members noted that they expected to maintain this target range until they were confident that the economy had weathered recent events and was on track to achieve the (rate-setting) Committee’s maximum-employment and price-stability goals,” the Fed said in the minutes.last_img read more