First up, more on Janet Yellen's profile in the New Yorker. Plus, the week-long Farnborough International Airshow is in full swing. We take a look at how the sale of aircrafts is looking this time around. Also, with Home Depot making MakerBot 3-D Printers available in some of its stores, we explore the motivations behind offering the high tech hot item.
Starting this week, you can walk into one of twelve Home Depot stores and buy a MakerBot 3-D printer, a desk-top machine that can create small items from melted plastic. They’re heralded as the next big thing in everything from medicine to manufacturing, but this pilot is a step toward mainstream consumers.
Click the audio player above to hear more on the sale of MakerBot 3-d printers at Home Depot.
Here are the numbers behind Home Depot and MakerBot:$1,375
Home Depot offers two models of MakerBot printers. The smaller printer is $1,375 while the larger model sells for $2,899.$18
Most refill packs of plastic filament used to create objects cost $18 or $48, depending on their size and color.$153.8 billion
Home improvement retail stores, like Home Depot, are expected to earn $153.8 billion in revenue in 2014, according to research firm IBISWorld, Inc.$1.4 billion
Companies that manufacture 3-D printers are expected to bring in $1.4 billion in revenue in 2014 from products, materials, and maintenance, according to IBISWorld.18.4%
Stratasys Inc., which acquired MakerBot in 2013, has a 18.4 percent marketshare of the 3-D printing manufacturing industry, according to IBISWorld.$550 billion
By 2025, the economic impact of 3-D printing could be as high as $550 billion a year, according to research by the McKinsey Global Institute. Moreover, it could save consumers 35-60 percent in costs per printed product.
Israel initially agreed to an Egyptian-brokered deal to stop hostilities, but leaders of Hamas did not support the plan.
Illegal logging has been a worldwide problem for conservationists, as it is often only possible to tell that logging has occurred once it has already happened. But Topher White, CEO and founder of Rainforest Connection, has an innovative solution: use cellphones to listen for the sounds of trees being cut down.
The hardware consists of a black box with the phone located inside. "Petals” located on the outside of the box act as solar panels, maximizing the brief flashes of light in the rainforest bed. The generated power then goes to microphones attached to the phone, which in turn listens for the sounds of trees being cut.
While it might sound daunting to pick out the exact sounds, it is far from impossible.
“With a chainsaw, they do have an internal combustion engine, which turns at about 110 times per second, so we are able to pick out these spikes that occur at very set frequencies,” Topher says.
The sound is then uploaded — even at the edges, forests do have cell service — to the cloud, where it is analyzed, and sent to local law enforcement.
Topher is currently looking to fund an expansion of the project on Kickstarter.
Boston's new deal with a casino developer will bring the city more than $300 million. That may not seem remarkable, save for the fact that the casino wouldn’t even be in Boston. In a bid to coax casinos into new markets, gambling companies are taking an extra step to sweeten the pot.
In Massachusetts, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority wants to build the next of its “Mohegun Sun” casinos in the city of Revere. It’s paying a dozen surrounding cities and towns, too.
“Fifty million dollars in annual payments to 13 [host and surrounding] communities closest to the city is just amazing,” Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess says. “We’re good neighbors.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh calls the negotiation with Mohegan developers long but productive.
“They were great in our case. We were basically throwing things on the table,” Walsh says. “They pushed back a bit on it, but everything that we pretty much wanted we were able to achieve.”
All this cash to help neighboring towns pay for better roads and more police is new. Normally, gambling laws carve out a share of casino profits only for the host city and the state. Case in point: Rosemont, Illinois gets no payments from a casino that’s just over the border in Des Plaines. Cezar Froelich, an attorney specializing in casino gambling law, says the state money is supposed to help neighboring municipalities. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
“Part of the problem is, depending on the state’s finances, sometimes it doesn’t get back to the local jurisdiction, as much as the … surrounding community would like,” Froelich says.
There’s no precedent for such payments, such as Mohegan Sun’s deal last week with Boston, which would give the city $300 million in direct investments over 15 years — the largest pact of its kind in the country. Froelich says a lot of Massachusetts cities and towns got greedy.
“Well, you know, if you’re a community and somebody walks up to you says, ‘Listen, you’re a surrounding community. Let’s talk about how much I owe you.’ You’re not going to set the number real low,” he says. “You know, human nature, get as much as you can, I suppose.”
In western Massachusetts, the town of Longmeadow recently failed to reach a deal with a proposed MGM casino in nearby Springfield, Massachusetts. So town manager Stephen Crane went to arbitration and won. Longmeadow would get nearly $850,000 upfront, and $275,000 per year after that.
“Even though we were not victorious, we thought it was a fair process,” says MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis. “At the end of the day, I think we’re a better proposal for it.”
Crane agrees the law worked pretty well. “It gave us a seat at the table, where otherwise we would not have one,” he says.
The extra cash outflows may actually save casinos in Massachusetts. There’s a referendum here on the November ballot to repeal gambling. Some voters might now see those dollars headed to their towns and might not be so concerned about a casino nearby.
Regardless of whether Massachusetts backtracks on casino gambling, the state may have shown the rest of the country a better way forward. Mohegan CEO Mitchell Etess says the Massachusetts gambling law could be a model for new casino developments around the country.
“I wouldn’t be shocked if you see it, because it takes a lot of concerns off the table,” he says.
As the House prepares to vote on a temporary measure to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent, the Obama Administration is touting the economic benefits of infrastructure investment.
Paying for roads and bridges is something President Obama is pushing all week. But sometimes, the local road to funding is faster.
Former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood says states are the ones moving boldly to pay for fixes. He points to places like Wyoming, which hiked its gas tax last year.
“The states are not waiting around for the federal government, because the federal government isn’t doing anything,” he says.
“We see this at the ballot box,” says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. He says in the last couple years, “about 70 percent of the votes to increase investment on the state and local level passed.”
Puentes says, when it comes to transportation infrastructure, part of the difficulty in Congress is that the federal role isn’t as defined as it was, for example, during the interstate highway era.
“We had a program that was designed to build the interstates, to connect metropolitan areas, to get farmers out of the mud,” he says. “There was a clear understanding of the purpose of the program, there were clear economic connections.”
Without that clarity, he says it may be difficult to get sustained federal investment in the nation’s infrastructure.