5 Things to Know Today: February 27, 2017
Liz Biscevic—5 Things to Know Today
Happy Monday! Here’s what you need to know today: Walmart is committed to hitting their emissions goal, despite the Trump administration's climate-skeptical approach, the video game industry is lobbying against your right to repair electronics, and a new study found that if you feel dumber sitting in your office than you do at home, maybe it’s not you, maybe it’s bad air quality.
1. Fast Coexist: Walmart is staying committed to cutting its emissions, regardless of federal requirements.
Using a combination of renewable energy and new energy-efficient processes, Walmart plans to reduce emissions by 18 percent by 2025. They also plan to cut one gigaton of chain-supply emissions by 2030. For mega-companies like Walmart, these plans aren’t just for the environment—they're about saving money. Walmart says switching to renewables allows it to more easily forecast future costs and eliminates price volatility. Right now, the retailer holds the record for largest number of on-site installations for solar panels in the U.S.
2. Forbes: 7 Awesome Lessons from Warren Buffett's Annual Letter
Warren Buffett, who sharply criticized hedge funds in his last open letter, is back with more "oracle of Omaha" pronouncements in Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholder letter. He still sings the praises of low-fee index funds, like those made available by Vanguard's Jack Bogle (who Buffett called "a hero to [millions of investors] and to me), and has no time for perilous strategies promoted by high-fee fund managers or financial consultants. He also counseled that in tricky times for investors: "widespread fear is your friend ... personal fear is your enemy." Like all Berkshire Hathaway's letters, this one is worth a read in full.
3. Motherboard: The video game industry is lobbying against your right to repair electronics and video game consoles.
The trade organization that includes Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo and other well-known video game developers, the Entertainment Software Association, is opposing a “right to repair” bill in Nebraska. For years, hardware manufacturers have forced consumers to either go to an “authorized” repair shop or purchase a new device, benefiting the companies' bottom lines. Nebraska's proposed bill, like similar legislation proposed in several other states, would require manufacturers to sell parts and tools to indie repair shops at the same price as offered to "authorized" locations, and make diagnostic manuals public for DIY fixes.
4. Triple Pundit: Bad indoor air quality can affect worker productivity.
Harvard University, SUNY Medical University, and Syracuse University, conducted a study that showed poor indoor air quality and ventilation were linked to poor productivity in the workplace. The study followed a six-day period in which some workers were exposed to elevated volatile organic compounds and CO2 and others were exposed to lower levels and given enhanced ventilation. Each participant took a cognitive test at the end of the day. The employees that were exposed to the air with less CO2 scored twice as high on their cognitive function scores than those exposed to poorer air quality.
5. Ad Age: Robots are coming to steal all our jobs.
Oxford University researchers have predicted that 47 percent of US jobs could be automated within the next 20 years. Ad Age's Shelly Palmer speculates that the sectors falling to machines could extend far beyond manufacturing to include middle management; salespeople; journalists (gulp!); accountants; and doctors. This last one isn't as bad as it seems, since our booming population could use more physicians, and robots already make for accurate and efficient diagnosticians and surgeons.