Do you play the NY Times game Connections, part 2? Do you play the NY Times game Connections, part 2?\images\insights\article\puzzle-close-up-small.jpg June 14 2024 June 14 2024

Do you play the NY Times game Connections, part 2?

Can you guess the common threads in each of these four recent news categories?

Published June 14 2024
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[I’ll be back next week with my regular weekly market update. In the meantime, please enjoy—what else?—a smattering of lighter items.]

Group 1 

  • The AI data centers of China may soon need more water than is consumed by all of South Korea. Why? So much energy is used in data centers that enormous quantities of water are require to cool the machinery involved. By 2030, China may need 792 billion gallons. China’s not alone. Google acknowledged using 5.6 billion gallons of water in 2022.  
  • One third of the 78 million tons of plastic packaging made each year is released into the ocean. That’s like taking a garbage truck filled with plastic and emptying it off a pier every minute, and, absent change or reform, that’s expected to rise to two trucks per minute by 2030.
  • The Department of Defense has begun planning for a railroad on the moon. Lunar infrastructure and development are expected to pick up in the coming years, with the NASA’s Artemis program seeking to establish a permanent base with the intention of facilitating human missions to Mars.
  • The European Court of Human Rights upheld Italy’s right to seize an ancient statue from the Getty Museum in California. The bronze statue, which is uncertainly dated to c. 300-100 BC., was discovered by Italian fishermen in 1964 and illegally spirited out of the country. It was subsequently purchased in 1977 by the Getty for $4 million.

Group 2

  • The average color of the universe’s galaxies as seen from Earth is a sort of light beige. In 2002, a team from Johns Hopkins thought about it and took nominations and decided that this color would be called cosmic latte.  
  • AI has found some 27,000 previously unnoted asteroids in the solar system. Using old telescopic images, AI has been set to work cataloging asteroids, mostly in the belt between Mars and Jupiter. Some 1.3 million asteroids had already been listed, but these had not, raising the possibility that potentially dangerous asteroids will be brought under our notice thanks to AI.
  • The moon is drifting an inch or so farther away from us each year. In 620 million years that would mean there’d be no more solar eclipses.

Group 3 

  • The population of Earth could fit in the five boroughs of New York City.
  • If it were possible to remove all the empty space in our atoms, humanity could fit into a sugar cube.
  • A USB-C charger is more powerful than the Apollo guidance computer that got NASA astronauts to the moon. This odd fact has to do with Moore’s Law and other differences between computers then and now. While the charger is not itself a computer, it does have RAM onboard. The NASA computer, however, was effectively crashproof—helpful in a pinch.

Group 4 

  • Paul McCartney became the first British musician to become a billionaire in pounds sterling, with a net worth of $1.3 billion. Friendly rival Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones has $500 million. McCartney is behind Jay-Z ($2.5 billion) and Rihanna ($1.4 billion) but, for now, ahead of Taylor Swift ($1.1 billion).  
  • A new golf club is making the rounds, called the “mini driver.” What is it? Of all the clubs in the bag, the driver hits the ball farthest off the tee. It’s also difficult to control, sending many a tee shot left or right into the rough. The mini driver is a bit shorter than a regular driver, with a smaller clubhead. 
  • Labyrinths are making a comeback. Since 2009, the first Saturday in May has been observed as World Labyrinth Day. (Next year!) Unlike mazes, which are designed to confuse and perplex, labyrinths are meant to foster contemplation, not stress. For 4,000 years people have been intrigued by the meditative trail.

Group 5 

  • Some factories in India are experimenting with all-female assembly lines in an effort to recruit more workers. Women’s share of the Indian labor force currently stands at 33% vs. 50% globally. 
  • Per the World Footwear Yearbook, in 2022, 23.9 billion pairs of footwear were made globally, or three pairs per person, bringing us back to pre-pandemic levels. Seven-eighths of these shoes were made in Asia, including just over half in China. As for consumption, 5.9 pair per person were bought in North America vs. 1.4 pair in Africa.

Common threads: Misplaced things; The galaxy; Space, in another manner; Relax; You go, girl.

Tags Markets/Economy . Interest Rates . Inflation .

Views are as of the date above and are subject to change based on market conditions and other factors. These views should not be construed as a recommendation for any specific security or sector.

Issued and approved by Federated Equity Management Company of Pennsylvania