1. FCC Ready for Phone Companies to Block Robocalls
If you’re affected, like a majority of us, by 10-15 spammy robocalls on a daily basis, refusing to ever pick up the phone to an unknown number, then you’re in luck. The FCC wants to allow phone companies to block any unwanted robocalls by default. If this ruling clears, all of us will be able to prohibit calls that are not on our contact lists, including protections against blocking emergency numbers, and opting out of call blocking as needed. Companies like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are working on ways to label calls from authentic numbers. They were originally reluctant to make these moves over uncertainties on whether or not it was legal. “By making it clear that such call blocking is allowed, the FCC will give voice service providers the legal certainty they need to block unwanted calls from the outset so that consumers never have to get them,” FCC Chairman Anji PaiPai said. Embodying all of us when we say, it’s about damn time.
2. US-China Trade Dispute May Spike iPhone Costs
In the last quarter of 2018, iPhone sales hit a decline with shares falling by 10%, the biggest drop in six years. Apple placed some of this blame on President Trump and the US-China trade dispute, but now renewed trade tensions have companies worrying how far President Trump will go. According to a report by Morgan Stanley, the new Trump-imposed tariff of 25% on $200B of Chinese-made goods could add about $160 to the cost of a Chinese-made iPhone XS, which starts at $999. On Monday, Chinese retaliated by announcing an increase in tariffs on approx. $60B US goods to take effect on June 1st. Donald Trump accused China of backing out of an agreement with US trade officials and tweeted a warning that “China should not retaliate – will only get worse!”
..There will be nobody left in China to do business with. Very bad for China, very good for USA! But China has taken so advantage of the U.S. for so many years, that they are way ahead (Our Presidents did not do the job). Therefore, China should not retaliate-will only get worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 13, 2019
What do third parties have to say? Goldman Sachs said the US-China clash could raise consumer prices even more and dent US economic growth. “Apple will be exploring all options and this will be the definition of a slow turn because they really don’t have a credible alternative avenue to build phones… The loser, in the end, is the US and Chinese consumer,” said Gene Munster of Loup Ventures.
(Source: The Guardian)
3. West Texas, Fracking Boom & Death Highway
West Texas, home of the tumbleweeds and dirt… is also a booming oil field hub where young, strong-armed workers (many without college educations) become entrepreneurs, making as much as $100K a year. One particular highway, US Highway 285, AKA “Death Highway”, leads to about 60 of the Permian Basin’s oil rigs. Some workers drive up to two hours on this highway to get to their job site, which over the years, has also erupted with local infrastructure —from schools to hotels, restaurants, and roads—and vehicle crashes; a rising 300%. Why the rising number? Death Highway is ranked #6 in the nation as one of the most dangerous places to drive due to constant construction, massive increases in traffic due to oil production, and heavy trucks rushing to make deliveries on time.
There’s so much money fueling out of West Texas these days that even a deadly highway can’t keep the people away. About 10 years ago, technological advancements in fracking made it possible to access vast deposits of previously unreachable oil. West Texas dirt is one of the most valuable oil importers in the world.