11/12/18 -
Reading time: 5 min
Billionaire Richard Branson has launched a $3 million prize to help incentivize the creation of a more efficient air conditioner. The number of AC units are expected to jump 3X by 2050 as incomes continue to grow in developing countries. This has huge implications for global warming as current AC units are not the most efficient. Branson has launched the Global Cooling Prize competition to help spur innovation and develop more efficient systems.
When the AC stops working
#1: Fire the Firefighters? 🚒
Cali on fire 🔥
California is currently facing three major active wildfires that all started last Thursday (all data as of Sunday afternoon):
  • Woolsey fire: in Simi Valley and rapidly expanding to engulf over 83,000 acres, remains only 5% contained, has claimed 2 lives, and forced 265,000 into mandatory evacuations
  • Camp fire: in Butte County in northern CA, labelled as the most destructive and third-deadliest wildfire in CA history with 105,000 acres burned, is 20% contained, and has killed 23 people

  • Hill fire: in Ventura county in southern CA and the smallest of the three, it has burned 4,531 acres and led to zero fatalities thus-far
Trump blames CA
In a tweet, Trump blamed the fires on "forest mismanagement" in California. It's unclear what Trump means by this exactly, but he threatened to withhold "Fed payments" to CA as a result.

The left focuses on the death and destruction of the wildfires while also criticizing President Trump’s tweet as not being sympathetic to the victims. Articles quote firefighting officials by calling his comments “reckless and insulting to the firefighters and people being affected.” This side also notes that some of the big fires didn't even occur in forests.


The right, as usual when agreeing with Trump, puts his name and headline statement in their story’s headlines. The right focuses on Trump’s tweet and the cost of fighting forest fires, without giving much attention to the death and damage caused by the wildfires. The right also takes a combative stance with CA’s newly elected Democratic governor.

Who or what is to blame for these fires?

In CA alone, there have been 7,500+ fires this year burning ~1.7 million acres and causing $3B in damages, making it one of the most destructive in CA history. Trump’s claim that poor forestry management is to blame is a non-traditional culprit, but one worth exploring given the increasing severity of wildfires. However, we should not forget that there are other likely contributing factors: (1) increased fuel (dead trees), (2) changing atmospheric conditions, and (3) home construction in fire zones.

Not a good year for wildfires...
#2: Déjà Vu: Florida Recount 🗳️
Count 'em again

Florida has announced a recount for its Senate and Governor races. Florida law requires a recount if the unofficial winner is ahead by less than 0.5%. The initial totals had Ron DeSantis (R) ahead of Andrew Gillum (D) by 0.41% in the Governor’s race, and Rick Scott (R) leading Bill Nelson (D) by 0.14% in the Senate race.

Why now?

Mail-in (or absentee) ballots kept rolling in - making the race tighter. Mail-in ballots generally make up a small percentage of all ballots and take the longest to count since some come from abroad. In tight elections, mail-in ballots can determine the outcome of the race. 


The left criticizes Republicans for their statements underming the recount. Outlets highlight how President Trump and other Republican leaders have resorted to  “blaming a vast conspiracy” for the shrinking Republican vote lead. The left reinforces their point by revealing that Florida state supervisors have stated that no fraud took place in the 2018 elections.


The right focuses on lawsuits filed by Rick Scott (R) against the election officials of Broward and Palm Beach counties. They stress that these two Democrat-leaning Florida counties have a long history of “incompetence, peculiarities, and even misplaced provisional ballots.” Some articles point out that the Broward County election commissioner has been at the center of several “accusations of incompetence and mishandling of ballots.”

When will we know who won?

The deadline for the recount is Thursday. However, several media reports are saying that Palm County will not be able to make the deadline. If the recounts end with a winning margin of less than 0.25%, a hand recount will be ordered. A hand recount seems likely in FL's Senate race - so this could take a while...

Extra extra...✨📰✨
100 years since WWI. French President Macron denounces 'nationalism' as Trump visits France (CNN)
Singles Day. Alibaba hits a new record of $30.8B in sales in 24 hours for China's version of Black Friday (CNBC)
The next housing bubble? Over 20% of China's urban housing stock is sitting empty - making up over 50 million homes (Bloomberg)
Posted on Instagram. Thousand Oaks mass shooter who killed 12 says he did it because "life is boring so why not?" (USA Today)
45% owned by the founding family. SAP acquires survey company Qualtrics for $8 billion in cash (Forbes)
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