boat in water near road and trees during daytime

$10 Billion in Global Trade Affected by Suez Canal Blockage

When the Ever Given got wedged in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes was immediately brought to a standstill. It took approximately a week to free the vessel before free passage was possible again.

That means the delays caused by the stuck ship may have cost over $10 billion in global economic impacts to various industries. Nearly 400 vessels were stuck in a tailback waiting to bass through the canal.

Approximately 12% of global trade passes through the canal, including around one million barrels of oil daily. Another 8% of the world’s liquefied natural gas is also there. Before the pandemic, the Suez Canal was responsible for about 2% of the total GDP.

Why Is the Suez Canal Essential to Global Trade?

When goods get shipped from Southeast Asia, the fastest trip to Europe isn’t around the Cape of Good Hope. Shipping can travel toward the Middle East instead, using the Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea to come around the top of the African continent instead.

This journey saves about 3,500 nautical miles when goods need to reach northern Europe. It’s significantly faster for ports in Italy, Greece, and Turkey.


Shippers save about 9 days on their shipping time by using this route. Although air freight is often faster, it costs three times more to transport the items. Those costs get pushed to the customer, reducing demand for the items.

Since the Ever Given is over 1,300 feet long and weighs 200,000 tons, moving the vessel proved to be challenging. They waited until high tide, dug some sand out from underneath it, and used more than a dozen tugs to rotate the ship.

Although the Suez Canal is free, the Egyptian government seized the Ever Given over a $916 million fine.

black and gray robot statue

Box Office Has Signs of Life After $300 Million Haul for Godzilla vs. Kong

Movie theaters experienced challenging times during the pandemic. With government restrictions often requiring them to close, 2020 was a year that lost billions for the industry. Companies like Warner Brothers and Disney decided to push new releases straight to the home to generate some momentum.

Godzilla vs. Kong is the first movie to change the pandemic box office. Although it released to streaming on HBO Max, the film still managed to top $300 million during the first week of April in total receipts.

It’s already passed its previous movies, thanks to the impressive returns coming from the Chinese market. About 80% of the revenues generated came from outside of North America.

Why Are Movies Struggling During the Recovery?

Movie theaters are at a crisis point because studios are delaying their blockbuster films. The industry was pinning its hopes on titles like Black Widow, No Time to Die, and Wonder Woman 1984, but none of those films reached their intended targets – or they haven’t been released at all.

We’re also a long way from normalcy when thinking about a visit to the movie theater. Some regions have 25% caps set for seating, which means it’s impossible to maximize revenues for that space. Even when people want to visit, a mask is always required (except for eating).

Do you want to munch on some popcorn with the threat of COVID-19 still lurking?

It doesn’t help that the industry and the government point fingers at each other while everyone blames the virus. Although the recent box office is more encouraging since only five titles went higher than $100 million in 2020 domestically, it’s only the first step. All it would take is another surge to create even more problems.

What can we do to support this positive trend? We’ll get back to normal when vaccines get distributed and healthy living habits continue. That means now is the perfect time to consider how Jarrow Formulas and Argentyn 23 could help your immune system.

black and silver mercedes benz logo

Hyundai to Spend $900 Million in EV Battery Recall

The Hyundai Motor Company made a huge splash in the automotive market with its Kona electric vehicle. It’s the biggest-selling product in the EV line for the brand, which had a recall after several reports of fires to get a software upgrade.

Hyundai is now spending $900 million on another recall because the battery systems in over 82,000 EVs sold globally have unacceptable fire risks.

Not only is this issue a significant hassle for owners, but it also shows the divide between battery makers and automakers about how to split the charges when problems appear with this technology.

One of the Recalled Vehicles Caught Fire in January

LG Energy Solution quickly deflected criticism of its technology when a recalled Hyundai caught fire in South Korea. The battery manufacturer said Hyundai misapplied their suggestions for fast charging within the management system, suggesting that the cells shouldn’t be listed as a direct cause of the increased fire risk.

The deflection might have worked some for investors. When Hyundai shares tumbled nearly 4% after the recall news, LG Chem closed just 2.8% off its open in the broader market.

About 25,000 of the Kona vehicles were sold in South Korea. The recall applies to the 2018, 2019, and 2020 model years, along with the Ioniq EV and some Elec City buses.

The $900 million figure includes the amount that Hyundai spent on the initial recall effort.

Since the Kona EV reached the global market, 15 fires have been reported with the vehicle’s setup. A total of 11 incidents were discovered in South Korea, with two in Canada and the others in Europe.

If you own a Kona or an Ioniq today, Hyundai advises that you limit your battery charge to 90% of capacity while using the vehicle. It would help if you also considered getting the recall serviced as soon as possible.

person standing on sands

Luka Doncic Rookie Card Sells for $4.6 Million

When you think about the high price of sports cards, the most collectible ones tend to be from a different era. If you want an investment-grade baseball card, Honus Wagner is the man you want to have in your safe deposit box.

If you want to keep basketball cards, you’d likely picture Michael Jordan.

Nick Fiorello has a different idea. He recently paid $4.6 million for an ultra-rare Luka Doncic rookie card, setting a new record for the highest price ever paid for this collectible.

The Original Card Was Purchased for $400,000

The Luka Doncic rookie card that sold features the NBA logoman catch. It’s from a Mavericks jersey that the player wore with his signature in blue ink.

It was the only card made of that specific variety.

The card was originally from a 2018-2019 Panini National Treasures Basketball trading card box. It was revealed live during a pack break at a sports card shop in Florida. Collector Bolillo Lajan San reportedly purchased it at the time, with TMZ Sports saying that the price was over $400,000 for the item.

Only one other card has ever sold for more money than this 1/1 collectible. A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card went for $5.2 million. Before that sale, the previous record was a $3.9 million Mike Trout rookie card.

Why Would Someone Pay That Much for a Card?

Luka Doncic has the potential to be one of the NBA’s greatest players. He’s hit the court strong since coming into the league, and it’s not out of the question that his current trajectory could put him with Jordan, Kareem, and the other legends.

Although $4.3 million seems high today, this card’s uniqueness and rarity ensure that there will always be collectible interest in it. If Doncic finishes his career strong, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this rookie card valued at more than $10 million one day.

photography of lightning storm

Texans Hit with Electric Bills in the Thousands Following Storms

Texas got hit with a rare blast of winter’s ferocity in 2021. The temperatures dropped below freezing, snow arrived, and ice storms created problems with many cities’ utility infrastructures.

Some people had no power for days after the winter storms, and those who did have electricity discovered power bills that reached totals of more than $16,000.

How could something like this happen? It was the perfect mix of capitalism, privatization, and product scarcity.

Texans Had the Option for Supply-Based Charges

When Texas privatized its utility structures, one of the options available to customers was to use the fluctuating wholesale price for their bills instead of a fixed rate.

If there is plenty of power available, the bills could be much lower than average. When a storm unlike anything Texas has seen in more than a century blows through, the results are very different.

Scott Willoughby was one of the people who found out the hard way about this issue. His credit card got charged $16,752 because his lights stayed on during the storm when power supplies were quite limited.

Many other Texans found themselves in similar circumstances, paying $5,000 to $10,000 through automatic billing for their electricity.

No One Was Prepared for the Circumstances

It wasn’t only the power grid that was at risk from the winter storms. The region’s natural gas producers weren’t prepared for the freeze, causing thousands of homes to have no heat. Plumbing pipes burst in homes, some communities had no safe water, and treatment plants got knocked offline.

Most of the people who experienced the pricing issue were with Griddy. Even the company saw that problems could be coming, so they encourage every customer out of the 29,000 they served to switch to a different provider.

Many people were unable to do so, creating massive charges.

The architect of the system, William Hogan, says that the high prices reflect that the market performed as it was designed.

2,000-Year-Old Mummies with Gold Tongues Unearthed

Ongoing archaeology efforts throughout Egypt often come up with some intriguing finds each year. One of the most exciting things from 2021 is some 2,000-year-old mummies with golden tongues placed within their mouths.

A team working at the Taposiris Magna temple in Alexandria has discovered 16 burials in local rock-cut tombs that feature unique rituals not often seen in other dig sites.

Although the preservation techniques are inadequate, based on previously discovered standards, the gold foil amulets they were given make them intriguing. It is believed that this effort was given so that the individuals could speak with Osiris in the afterlife.

Osiris Was Considered to Be the Judge of the Dead

When archaeologists uncovered the mummies, they also discovered gilded decorations of Osiris in the complex. The materials were cartonnage, which is essentially glue, linen, and plaster.

There’s a crown with horns and a cobra on one of the figures, while decorations on the chest appear to be a falcon. If accurate, that would make it similar to the symbol of the god Horus.

Several additional treasures were found in the area, including a funeral mask, eight flakes of a golden wreath, and eight marble masks that were either Roman or Greek.

Coins that bear the name of Queen Cleopatra VII were also found in the temple complex. She was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which ruled from 51-30 BC. After her death, the area became part of the Roman Empire.

Two of the mummies were found to have scrolls buried with them. Scholars are currently analyzing the remaining fragments to decipher what they might say. Statues of the people who were buried there are also part of the find.

Archaeologists announced that they could still make out details from the well-preserved statues, including headdresses, hairstyles, and facial expressions.

It is amazing what can be learned in discovering the remains of the deceased.

This Boston Dynamics Robot Costs $74,500 – Without Addons!

Although we’re a long way from having robots take over our society, rapid technology advancements are letting them come into our homes.

One of the latest examples of this trend is the robot dog from Boston Dynamics. The device is named “Spot,” and you can have one if you’re willing to pay the base model price of $74,500.

That’s right! If you want addons for your robotic dog, you’ll need to spend some extra cash. At least Boston Dynamics includes the first year of software updates for free, along with a standard warranty.

If you want comprehensive protection for your robot dog, a $12,000 service plan is necessary.

What Are the Benefits of Purchasing a Spot?

You’ll discover that Spot might come with a price that rivals a luxury car, but it is a competent robot.

With over 100 units in the wild right now, there’s enough testing to see what the full capabilities of this technology could be. According to Boston Dynamics, a short video clip of the robot walking across rebar at faster-than-human speeds is one of the best advancements they’ve documented.

The current license for Spot is for commercial use. It’s not intended for in-home needs or to operate around children.

With the $74,500 investment, you’ll receive a charger, two batteries, a tablet controller (with a separate charger), and a case for transportation and storage.

If you want to get work done with Spot, the Enhanced Autonomy Package is another $34,750. That upgrade includes 360-degree cameras, better communications, lights, and a Velodyne VLP-16. Even an extra battery will cost $4,620, and the option for expansion ports (only two of them!) is $1,275.

Are you interested in placing an order for a robot dog of your very own? If so, more information is available at shop.bostondynamics.com.

Highlights of the Biden Executive Orders Signed in His First 30 Days

Most U.S. Presidents want to get off to a fast start when they take office. Since the election gives them the mandate to make some changes, the first 100 days are often seen as a gauge of what to expect in the coming years.

When Biden was sworn into office, he started signing executive orders within hours to begin the process of correcting what he thought was wrong with the country.

Here are the highlights of the various executive orders signed in the first month of the Biden Administration.

Biden Made an Aggressive Push on the Executive Order Front

The following table doesn’t show the proclamations, changes, or requests that don’t involve an executive order.

For example, Biden’s first action was to re-engage with the World Health Organization. That step didn’t require an executive order to complete on January 20.

Executive OrderSubject MatterDate
Create the position of a COVID-19/coronavirus response coordinator.This EO provides for streamlined vaccine distribution and virus management duties.January 20
Revoke Keystone XL pipeline.Biden paused energy leasing in ANWR while stopping the construction of the oil transportation pipeline.January 20
Launched an initiative to advance racial equity in schools.This EO effectively ended the 1776 Commission that looked at how American history got taught.January 20
OSHA guidance updates.This order looks at how to keep workers safe from COVID-19.January 21
Re-establish the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.The goal of this EO is to address the needs of low-income Americans.February 14
Revoke city targeting when local officials declare themselves as sanctuaries.With this executive order, Biden hopes to remove “anarchist” titles from U.S. communities.February 24
Rebuild the U.S. refugee resettlement program.This order works to restore the systems used to resettle refugees when their lives are threatened in their home countries.February 4

World GDP Growth Expected to Reach 4% in 2021

The global economy is expected to expand by 4% in 2021. That GDP growth is exciting news, especially after the 2020 losses, but it isn’t a guaranteed forecast.

Economists say that the 4% GDP estimate is based on the assumption that COVID-19 vaccines become widespread throughout the year. There must continue to be a positive immune response in people, despite potential variants, for economic activity.

The only reason why 2020 wasn’t worse is that China was able to recover faster than expected, while the advanced economies had a shallower contraction than anticipated. Those actions still resulted in a 3.5% loss.

The United States Will Have a Below Average Recovery

The World Bank expects the United States to fall short of the global recovery forecast, although not by much.

As the world reaches 4% GDP growth with a COVID-19 vaccine, the U.S. is expected to see a 3.5% surge in 2021. If China gets excluded from the economic numbers, Americans would be slightly above the global average.

Japan and Europe, which saw even more of a contraction in their economies than Americans, will have similar growth struggles in 2021. Europe is expected to grow at the same rate as the United States, while the Japanese might reach 2.5% for the year.

If infections continue to rise and complications in the vaccine rollout occur, the growth estimates could be slashed by almost 70%.

Economists don’t see two consecutive years of GDP loss, but global expansion could be limited to approximately 1.5%.

On the other end of the equation, a faster-than-anticipated vaccine rollout could help the world recover 20% faster.

Although COVID-19 is creating debt risks and other significant problems in emerging economies, it is also providing new opportunities to explore business opportunities. If a vaccine can be successfully administered to most people, we should see a return to normalcy by 2022.

Tokyo Olympics Could Cost $26 Billion

After spending a year on hold, Japan plans for the 2020 Olympic games to be held in the summer of 2021 in Tokyo. The remaining competition schedule is expected to stay the same, with the next Summer Olympics scheduled in 2024.

The original cost estimate for the Olympic Games was $7.3 billion. After the organizers released an updated budget with $12.6 billion in costs, an audit took a look at the rest of the books.

Japan’s Board of Audit found billions of expenditures from national and municipal governments that weren’t included on the financial ledger. They estimate that the Tokyo Olympics could cost over $26 billion to operate.

If COVID-19 protocols are still necessary when they’re held, the price could get even higher.

Organizers Say They’re Not Responsible for the Additional Money

Tokyo 2020 is fighting back on the idea that they’re responsible for the $26 billion that the Board of Audit suggests is the real cost of the games.

The organizers say that the board aggregates several projects from across the country that could be seen as game contributors. It didn’t matter whether the expenses were part of the official program or not.

Japanese media calculate that the price of holding the Tokyo Games could reach more than $28 billion. That’s compared to the $6.9 billion in place for the 2028 games expected to be held in Los Angeles.

The one difference between Tokyo and LA is that the American organizers expect to use several existing venues for the competition. Japan had to build several items, including a national stadium and a village for the athletes.

It’s not all bad news for the 2020 Summer Olympics organizers. Sponsorship sales have reached $3.3 billion, and ticket sales have been strong enough that lotteries have had to be established. When the event’s economic impact gets analyzed, it will still be a profitable venture for the city and Japan.