Old Wine and New Records

How does an insurance salesman become a Chief Executive Officer of a company collecting and selling the world’s finest and rarest wines? Stephen Williams can tell you how. He did it. He founded the Antique Wine Company in London, England over 30 years ago after learning and gaining more interest in wine from his clients while working as a life insurance salesman.

A poor kid raised by a single mom, Mr. Williams’ first taste in wine started while attending parties at friends’ houses. He would hide and taste the wine left behind by party guests. Mr. Williams grew up to earn a living selling life insurance which is how he met other folks interested in wine.

Good thing Mr. Williams figured out he was in the wrong business. With over 20,000 clients located in over 70 countries, the Antique Wine Company is now known worldwide as one of the best wine merchants. Currently the company has cellared over 10,000 bottles of the world’s finest vintages. Their famous collections have broken world records, and currently hold the record for selling the most expensive bottle of white wine ever sold. The purchaser, Christian Vanneque, bought this dessert wine, an 1811 Château d’Yquem in July of 2011 for $120,000. For his part, he says wine is for drinking and drink it he will. He plans to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of his restaurant career by opening the bottle in August 2017 and serving with dinner while accompanied by his wife, brother and CEO Mr. Williams, of course. Until dinner time, the bottle is on display at Mr. Vanneque’s second restaurant, Sip Sunset Grill, in Bali encased in a bullet-proof and temperature-controlled glass.

There’s plenty of other impressive sales to speak of. In 2006, Mr. Williams’ Antique Wine Company sold a 135 year collection of the Grand Chateau Series containing the entire vintages from 1860 to 2003 for $1.5 million, a little more than pocket change.

Mr. Williams is an example of how one can turn their passion into their business, and make business their passion.

Additional Signs of the Upward March of Global Temperatures

Ocean temperatures off of Australia may be an indication that we’ll be getting record high temperatures around the globe for at least the next year or two. The waters of the Coral Sea off of Australia have been experiencing a warming trend for two decades now, and there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. This means that 2014 may be quickly supplanted in the record books as the warmest year on record since these global measurements were first taken in 1880. What’s more, the ten warmest years on record have all occurred within the last two decades.

Marcio Alaor BMG says it’s incredible that anyone can look at the facts regarding global temperatures and still pretend that we are not having a tremendous impact on the climate. While some parts of the world, such as Siberia, could probably benefit from a little warming it represents bad news for the bulk of the planet’s population. The rise in water levels will inundate low lying areas over the next few decades, and weather extremes are already affecting certain local areas. California is in the grips of one of its worst droughts ever, and weather extremes in the summer and winter seem to be less of an exception with each passing year. We can only hope that alternative energy continues its march forward and that solar and wind replace fossil fuels in power plants and that batteries and hydrogen fuel replace gasoline in cars as soon as possible.

Yacht Races In The Artic? Melting Ice May Make That Possible!

People want to know what the Artic is going to look like when all the ice melts on the top of the world. The answer might be a new playground for sailing yachts as well as a new shipping route between the East and West Coast. A whole new world is opening in the Artic thanks to global warming, and businesses want a piece of it.

Sultan Alhokair said that the first business to schedule an event is “Sailing the Artic Race,” which is planned for the summer of 2017. The 7,700 mile race will use the famous Northwest Passage to test the skills of sailing enthusiasts that dare to complete the New York to Victoria, British Columbia adventure in true sailing form.

The partners sponsoring the extreme yacht race include Harken, a sailboat gear maker, based in the United States. Other people like the editor of Cruising World said the race is improbable and very ambitious. The skeptic may have to eat their words if the ice keeps melting at the current rate. Even the nay-sayers in government will have to admit that global warming is real, when they realize the Artic is more ocean than ice.

Goldfish Living in Colorado Lake

A lake near Boulder, Colorado has been inhabited by thousands of goldfish. Ecologists are worried that the nearly 3,000 goldfish are menacing the conservational balance of the lake. Susan McGalla said the massive school of goldfish have both residents and ecologists scratching their heads as to how they got there in the first place.

Park rangers initially noticed a small population of goldfish in Teller Lake No. 5 in mid-March. Since the first sighting, rangers and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife have confirmed the population has nearly detonated to 3,000 goldfish living in Teller Lake No. 5.

So how did all the fish get here? It is suspected someone dumped a large amount of goldfish into the lake and the population has grown from there. Wildlife experts are worried about how the fish have overtaken the lake. According to Kristin Cannon, District Wildlife Manager for the Colorado Parks and Wildlife, “Goldfish are not a native species and are very harmful to the local aquatic ecosystem.”

Foreign or nonnative species can simply destroy native inhabitants with disease epidemics and create an abnormal and an unbalanced struggle for already scarce resources. Experts have hypothesized that the goldfish have likely been reproducing in Teller Lake No. 5 for approximately three years. Dumping unwanted pet fish is natural waters is illegal, therefore the Colorado Parks and Wildlife are hoping anyone with information about how the initial invasion started will come forward.

Thousands Of Goldfish Infest A Lake In Colorado

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there are over 3,000 goldfish in Teller Lake No. 5 near Boulder, Colorado. Rangers had first spotted goldfish in the lake in the middle of March. Wildlife officials say they will have to collect the fish to protect the lake’s “integrity.” That means they want to protect the plants and animals that are native to the lake. Goldfish are not native; they originated in east Asia.

The district wildlife manager for Boulder, Kristin Cannon, explained that non-native species like goldfish can seriously harm native species. They can spread diseases against which the natives have no defense. They can also outcompete natives for resources.

This is not the first time that goldfish have caused problems. In 2012, officials caught 2275 goldfish at Thunderbird Lake. They used electro-fishing, in which people electro-shock the fish and then scoop them up, to catch the goldfish. Presumably, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials will use the same method to catch the goldfish infesting Teller Lake No. 5. They already plan to send the fish to a rehabilitation center where they’ll be fed to the resident birds of prey according to Paul Mathieson.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials believe that the current population has been living and reproducing in the lake for about two or three years. They have asked the public for news on how the invasion started, and they also want to remind people that dumping goldfish in a lake is illegal.

Obama Administration Wants To Train Veterans For Solar Power Jobs

President Barack Obama may not be the most popular president in recent history, but he is one of the smartest. Obama knows the jobless percentage rate in this country is quietly increasing, and will continue to do so unless people are trained for tech jobs and for jobs in other 21st century industries. One of those industries is the solar power industry. Solar power is becoming more affordable. People all over the country are buying new solar panels to reduce their power bills. The solar industry needs people to fill several positions, but they must be trained in solar power technology.

The country has a lot of veterans that need jobs. Obama wants to marry the solar industry with veterans. He wants to add 75,000 workers to the solar work force by 2020. The previous number was 50,000 back in 2014, but the jobless rate figures keep climbing. Obama knows something has to be done to bring that percentage down. His plan will help a little, but it’s not a fix. The issue is the veterans.

In most cases, the government needs to recondition them before they can reenter the work force. Veterans can hold down law enforcement and low-level security jobs without much training, but hi-tech jobs will require psychological and physiological adjustments and training that the government is not willing to address. Changing the government’s mindset is not easily done, but Ray Lane is rooting for them to make it all work.

Tom Steyer Tries to Make Climate Change a Bigger Political Issue

Reuters has an article on their website about how wealthly environmentalist Tom Steyer is spending lots of money trying to make climate change more of a political issue. In particular, Steyer is targeting politicians backed by the wealthy Koch brothers, who have supported candidates who advocate the continued use of fossil fuels.

Reuters notes that Steyer has been unable to make climate change a wedge issue in previous elections stated The Real Deal. It seems that voters still don’t consider climate change a real problem. Hopefully this is changing as more and more extreme weather all over the world makes denying climate change even more ridiculous.

Steyer says he is going after Republican candidates who deny the science behind climate change, and I think this is great. One hundred years from now, people who are denying climate change currently are going to look like people in the middle ages who argued that the earth was the center of the universe.

In particular, Steyer said he wants to make climate change an issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. I hope that he is able to do so. Of course, one of the biggest culprits in emitting carbon dioxide is China, and hopefully a strong U.S. policy concerning climate change will set a positive example for them.

In any event, at least Steyer is trying, and I support his efforts.

Augua4All to Bring Safe Water to More Than 1 Million in California Who Lack It

We’ve all seen the pictures and heard the stories about the people living in the poorest countries in the world not having access to safe water. But, most have not heard about that exact dilemma being a serious problem in certain areas of California, right here in the United States. One Southern California town known as Arvin is comprised of more than 1 million inhabitants, mostly of poor Hispanic origin, that have not had safe drinking or cooking water for years. Governor Jerry Brown’s mandatory water usage cuts ordered last week to help combat the severe drought will have little, if any effect on this poor area already suffering safe water issues.

The problem with the water in Arvin and more than 100 other sparsely populated poor communities is arsenic. Theirdrinking supply is contaminated with the poison, which when boiled, becomes even more concentrated. A statewide partnership has been formed by safe water advocacy groups and is called Agua4All. This group of activists for safe water has begun its campaign by supplying water bottle filling stations to areas accessible to the population to remove the need to expend nearly 10 percent of their income on bottled water. Christian Broda has learned that they intend on having Agua4All water stations place in every part of the state in need of safe water.

Local residents, Partida and his wife, purchase two 5-gallon jugs of water weekly at a cost of $5.00 a week. Families with children would need to spend much more for safe water. Recognizing that every human has the right to affordable and accessible water that is clean and safe, the Human Right to Water Bill was signed into law by Governor Brown in 2012.

California’s Real Water Problem

California is not having a good water year. This week, the state’s governor, Jerry Brown, had to sign a law into place to impose a mandatory, statewide water restriction because of drought conditions. Yet, many people are asking if climate change and private citizen waste alone be blamed for the California drought?

According to Brian Torchin, Nestlé, a Swiss food and drink firm is purportedly allowed to take almost half of the groundwater in Sacramento, California — an estimated 50 to 80 million gallons per year — to sell for profit. The company only pays about $0.65 per 470 gallons but is allowed to resell the water back to Sacramento residents and workers at a much higher cost.

Then there is the water waste from oil drilling and gas fracking in California: According to Rory Carroll at Reuters, oil drilling and gas fracking proceses in 2014 resulted in 70 million gallons of water waste. Unlike Nestlé, the water can’t be re-used because it’s filled with toxic chemicals. These companies irresponsibly claim the use is equivalent to the usage of about 514 households ignoring how precious drinking water would be during a drought to the men, women and children in those 514 homes and the fact that the number of households affected increases with each corporation’s irresponsible usage of water. The impact between Nestlé and the gas fracking, without counting oil drilling, would be more than 1,000 households.

California Issues Restrictions Slashing Water Use by 25%

California is ordering water use in the state to be slashed by 25 percent in response to a four-year-long drought. Governor Jerry Brown made an executive order from the Phillips Station in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, which is usually covered by at least five a half feet of snow. Because of the drought, that snow is largely gone.

According to the California Department of Water Resources, snow surveys were five percent of their average for the beginning of April. The chief of the snow surveys for CDWR said the snow pack was the lowest it had been in over 70 years. That puts severe limits on how much water will flow unto the reservoirs over the spring and summer.

The new executive order issued on Wednesday mandates that the State Water Resource Control Board slash water use by 25 percent. That amounts to around 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the rest of the year stated Kevin Seawright

Last month, the governor had signed emergency legislation that fast-tracked $1 billion for water conservation and drought relief. Similarly, he has already called upon people, farms and businesses to cut water use by 20 percent.