Monthly Archives: October 2012
Chevrolet and Mattel have had a long and prosperous relationship. The toy company has been producing matchbox-sized replicas of the Camaro since 1968, a year after the real Chevy pony car first landed in showrooms.
Chevy has used the Hot Wheels theme for several years at its SEMA stand. Last year, it positioned a bright yellow version of the Camaro at the base of a life-size track. But now the automaker plans to actually add a Hot Wheels edition to its lineup. It will come as a $6,995 upgrade on both the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro and Camaro convertible. Sales are scheduled to begin early next year.
For the money, the special edition will get a bright metallic paint scheme, special graphics, red-lined 21-inch wheels and Hot Wheels flame badges on the fenders and trunk lid.
The Hot Wheels Camaro will feature matte-black touches around the hood and taillight surrounds. And the upgrade will also borrow some trim pieces from the high-performance Camaro ZL1 package, including the rear spoiler, front grille and front splitter.
The black leather-trimmed interior will boast Hot Wheels logos embroidered on the front seats, which are finished in red and black stitching. The Hot Wheels flame will adorn the door interiors with special Hot Wheels Edition sill plates completing the package.
SPRING VALLEY, Calif. — Since the Fresh & Easy grocery chain was founded five years ago, it has opened 150 stores in California and positioned itself as a hip, socially responsible company.
A cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, the company brags that its house brands have no artificial colors or trans fats, that two-thirds of its produce is grown locally and that its main distribution center is powered by a $13 million solar installation.
But in one crucial respect, Fresh & Easy is just like the vast majority of large American retailers: most employees work part-time, with its stores changing many of their workers’ schedules week to week.
At its store here, just east of San Diego, Shannon Hardin oversees seven self-checkout stations, usually by herself. Typically working shifts of five or six hours, she hops between stations — bagging groceries, approving alcohol purchases, explaining the checkout system to shoppers and urging customers to join the retailer’s loyalty program, all while watching for shoplifters.
“I like it. I’m a people person,” said Ms. Hardin, 50, who used to work as an office assistant at a construction company until times went bad.
Toronto‘s Bay Street will soon be overrun by more bulls than usual — and not just the financial variety.
At least, that’s what the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair hopes will happen, as the festival plans to kick off its 90th year with a launch unlike anything tried before.
On Tuesday, Oct. 30, the group plans to release six 900-kilogram bulls at the intersection of Bay Street and Wellington in Toronto’s financial centre. The plan is to coax the animals north toward King Street before being corralled.
“While spectators will be able to marvel at these magnificent animals, the streets will be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic during the running of the bulls,” the fair’s organizers said in a press release announcing the stunt.
Mayor Bloomberg is interviewed in this month’s Atlantic, and I found his discussion of paternalism problematic in a revealing way. You hear similar bad reasoning from other paternalists, so I think it’s worth discussing. Here is what he had to say about bans:
…I think it’s government’s job not to ban things but to give you information and let you make the decision. So calorie counts would do that. Portion control is a graphical or physical way of giving you information in terms of how much sugar you’re consuming, and whatever….
…We are not banning anything. All we’re saying is that restaurants and theaters can’t use cups greater than 16 ounces. So if you want to buy 32 ounces, you can buy 32 ounces, you just got to carry it back to your seat, or your table, in two cups. If the question is “Do you think they should be banning?,” that’s a separate question. That has nothing to do with portion control. We are not banning anything. And when you say “Wait a second — sure, you are restricting the size of the cups,” well, the manufacturer restricts the size of the bottle you get. Everybody does portion control. They do it with different objectives, maybe.
This is a popular way of viewing regulation, but there are a lot of problems with this line of thinking. First, in this view the government reducing choice is identical to businesses reducing choice. The most obvious problem with this is that when a business decides not to offer a particular container size it does not preclude others from doing so. If you find yourself puzzled by why people complain about government reducing choice more than businesses reducing choice then you should start here.
Germany is dumping electricity on its unwilling neighbors and by wintertime the feud should come to a head.
Central and Eastern European countries are moving to disconnect their power lines from Germany’s during the windiest days. That’s when they get flooded with energy, echoing struggles seen from China to Texas over accommodating the world’s 200,000 windmills.
Renewable energy around the world is causing problems because unlike oil it can’t be stored, so when generated it must be consumed or risk causing a grid collapse. At times, the glut can be so great that utilities pay consumers to take the power and get rid of it.
“Germany is aware of the problem, but there is not enough political will to solve the problem because it’s very costly,” Pavel Solc, Czech deputy minister of industry and trade, said in an interview. “So we’re forced to make one-sided defensive steps to prevent accidents and destruction.”
The power grids in the former communist countries are “stretched to their limits” and face potential blackouts when output surges from wind turbines in northern Germany or on the Baltic Sea, according to Czech grid operator CEPS. The Czechs plan to install security switches near borders by year-end to disconnect from Europe’s biggest economy to avoid critical overload.